Do You Have the Time?

December 15th, 2007 • Category: Advent and Christmas
by Ben Lamb

Today’s scripture: Luke 2:31-38 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Ben Lamb):

“Step on it!”

“Get going!”

“Out of my way!”

Road rage. Mall madness. Planning frenzy. Welcome to Christmastime.

I suspect that if Jesus were coming to earth for the first time in 2007, he’d be asked to forgo his birth, dispense with his childhood, eliminate his adult ministry, and just appear on the scene in the nick of time to schedule his Crucifixion on Oprah during sweeps week. I mean, isn’t doing everything as quickly as possible just about the most important thing in life?

Evidently, God thinks some things are worth waiting for. The salvation plan called for Jesus to take approximately 30 years to reach adulthood before starting his ministry. Then, he spent three more years before giving his ultimate gift to humanity. How many of us have waited 33 years? Standing in front of a microwave for 33 seconds can seem like forever!

In today’s reading, Simeon actually asked to wait for something! Even though it doesn’t give his age, it reads to me as if Simeon is no young man. I’m imagining him as an old, old man, getting up every morning. His health is failing, and he hurts constantly from arthritis. Still, he prays, “Dear God, please let me see the Messiah before I die.” After years of patience and waiting, his wish is granted.

At age 84, Anna is definitely ancient by that era’s standards. “She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day” spells it out pretty well. She was a very patient person, too. I don’t read anything about her frantically clipping coupons out of the papyrus in order to hit those early bird sales at Biggie-Mart.

Yes, some situations (such as medical emergencies) do require immediate action. But, in general, does it really matter who’s first in the check-out line? Can you recall how long it took you last year to get from any point A to any point B?

On the other hand, when you’ve had “ah-ha!” moments in your life, and during times when God has spoken to you in special ways, wasn’t it most often when you weren’t in a monstrously huge hurry?

Thought for the day: Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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