Christmas is beyond mortal man’s comprehension. So many questions remain unanswered in the mind of man. How could God become a man? Why would God want to do such a thing? Why would God restrict Himself to human flesh for any period of time, let alone thirty-plus years? Why would the Creator allow the creature to mistreat Him? We simply do not have the capacity to understand these and other questions regarding Emmanuel (God With Us).
Luke 2:25-35, however, gives some very interesting insight, “There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel." 33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed — 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (NASU)
Simeon was one of the righteous and devout Jews who had not given up hope that the Messiah would come. Simeon had continued to look with expectation even though God had been silent for several centuries. In verses 30-33 above, Simeon declares at least three marvelous truths about the Christ Child. First, Emmanuel has come to bring salvation to a world that desperately needed and still needs it. Second, Simeon recognizes the great missionary heart of God. Simeon shocked the Jewish hearers when he declared that the Messiah, Emmanuel, was bringing salvation to all peoples. Just in case the Jews might not have understood what he meant, Simeon repeated the same idea in different words. He reminded them that Isaiah had said in chapters 9, 42, 49, 51, and 60 that the Messiah would be a Light to the Gentiles. Amazingly, God had not created a special nation from Abraham simply to bless that special nation but rather to use that nation to bless every tribe, tongue, and nation by having the Messiah come from them. Simeon also pointed out that God’s use of the nation of Israel to deliver the Messiah to the world was a high honor indeed.
While Simeon did not explain what the decision is; he did make it clear in verses 34–35 that a choice must be made regarding this One Sent to Bring Salvation to All Nations. During this and every Christmas season we ought to ponder this choice which is fully explained elsewhere in the New Testament. Emmanuel does not allow anyone to remain neutral regarding Him. Every person must choose for himself or herself. Attempting to avoid the choice is deciding against Him. The Bible says we must put our total trust in Emmanuel (Jesus). That trust must be evidenced by repentance and obedience.