Grace Lutheran Church • 6931 Edinger Ave • Huntington Beach, CA • 92647 • (714) 899-1700

As You Wish

Luke 2:21-38
Pastor Chris Tweitmann

This is a season for making lists. Early this past month or perhaps even sooner, children made their wish lists for Santa. As the arrival of Christmas morning gives way to the fresh start of a new year, many adults begin to make a list for their New Year’s resolutions. Of course some have grown skeptical about crafting such resolutions. Still, in that strange sequence of days between the ending of one season and the beginning of a new calendar, even the most cynical among us can be prompted to take stock and reflect on their personal bucket list.

If you’re not familiar with this term, a bucket list is a compilation of all the things one wants to do before one “kicks the bucket” – before one dies. Stuff like see the Northern Lights or swim with dolphins. Sky dive or experience zero gravity. While it’s a slightly crude way of looking at our inevitable demise, it does prompt us to focus on actively living rather than passively waiting for death.

What about you? Do you have a bucket list?

What things would you like to do – to experience – before you die?

As the year of 2017 fades and all the possibilities of 2018 rise,
what impulse might you at long last embrace to fulfill your wildest, lifelong dreams?

This Sunday we’ll meet a man – a relativly obscure character in the Gospel – who is about to see his greatest wish fulfilled. Near the end of the second chapter in Luke’s Gospel, we are introduced to this aged gentleman named Simeon. Luke informs us Simeon was a devout and righteous man. Apparently, there was only one thing on his bucket list – only one thing he wanted to experience before he died.

Simeon had spent his entire life waiting – searching – hoping for this one thing. He had lived through dark times in the history of his people. Exile. Oppression. Silence. There’d been no new revelation from God through prophets or anyone for over 400 years. Not exactly the prime conditions for optimism. Simeon wasn’t getting any younger and yet he remained faithful – holding onto his one wish and believing it would come true. The hope that was in him was greater than the hopelessness around him.

What was Simeon waiting, wishing and hoping for?
What was the only thing on his bucket list?

Join us this Sunday to find out. As a new year is about to dawn, what are you personally wishing for? We all have many lists of different things we want – to have, to do or to accomplish. Let us prepare ourselves to encounter a man who narrowed all his wishes down to one – only one thing he needed to die in peace.

What do we really need to accomplish before this life is over? We often take time for granted. We assume we’ll always have tomorrow. Some lists we create end up – despite our best efforts – unfinished. Not every wish upon a star comes true. May we gain clarity from Simeon and from the One he encounters – clarity enough to realize our greatest wish already has been fulfilled. May we, like Simeon, find peace, the peace to face death whenever it comes and the peace to embrace this life as we are blessed to experience every day until then.

Happy New Year!
Pastor Chris

Hearts Up: December 21, 2017