December 30, 2007 - The Sunday after Christmas

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 58:1-59:3, 14-21; Luke 1:26-38

This week's Readings: Isaiah 11:1-5; Galatians 4:1-7; Luke 2:22-40

“Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word.” (Luke 2:29)

How do you depart in peace when those who have power over you are not happy with you? They have expectations that you must fulfill before you can leave in peace. What if you don't meet those? No peace, right?

Thank God that it is not that way with Him. Sure, He has demands, holy expectations for you to live up to. But, amazingly, God sends His own Son into your flesh to do for you all that He requires of you, to accomplish for you all that He demands of you. Born under the law (Galatians 4:4-5), Jesus meets all the goals in your place, lives up to all the holy requirements of God. And on His ticket, you're in! Acceptable. Part of God's family.

That's God's gift to you, with the birth of His Son. You are ready to depart this life in peace. So young, so much yet to do and to accomplish. Nevertheless, you are ready now –– ready to meet your Maker, because God Himself is now ready. He is ready to receive you, to welcome you with open arms. How do I know this?

Without even looking at you, or knowing you, I know this because Jesus was born for you, to do all that needs doing for you, to accomplish all that needs accomplishing for you, to fulfill all that needs fulfilling for you. Because of Jesus, we are all ready to depart in peace.

Is it any wonder we sing Simeon's song after Communion? Whether or not we will live to meet there again, like Simeon, you, too, have held the Child in your arms, in your ears and in your mouth. At the Altar, you, too, have seen the Lord's salvation, which He has prepared before the face of all people. You, too, then, by Christ's Body and Blood, are ready.

In the old westerns, they'd always ask before they hanged some poor fellow, “Have you made your peace with God?” Better to ask, “Has God made His peace with you?” That's what matters. The gospel gives you the answer: ”Yes, God has.” He Who holds ultimate power over you has made peace with you in His Son. Trust in that. What of the peace you often lack with others? Don't be discouraged by their judgment. Keep at it. And pray:

“O heavenly Father, as You gladden our hearts again to celebrate the birth of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, mercifully bestow on us the joy to receive Him as our Redeemer and so welcome Him when He comes again to be our judge; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” (Collect for the First Sunday after Christmas)