We bow before the Lord today, before the one who is our righteousness and strength. He is the one to whom we have turned and by whom we have been saved. With Simeon, we have the peace we need to face death. Yet, our peace is so great that we can live in it as well. Today we give thanks to the Lord with our hearts and voices, joining with the psalmist, Isaiah, Paul, Simeon, Anna, and all God’s people for the peace filled life that is ours in Christ.
The joy of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Through the centuries, Christians have found ways to express confident joy in the blessed gift of salvation. This evening we gather to hear of angels, shepherds, and a baby in a manger. Saint Matthew tells us who the baby is: Immanuel, God-with-us. Because we do not deserve to have God near us at all, this is truly a gift. He comes to us and lives among us in time and space so that we might be with him forever in heaven. This evening we celebrate not only a birth so long ago, but the promise of our eternal future which he alone brings.
Today, we hear the angel's announcement of the imminent birth of the Savior and Mary's humble consent to God's gracious will. This is the first of many times when she would "ponder in her heart" the grace and promise of God, and on this day we not only recall her faithfulness but pray that we may respond to God's will and promise in the same way.