Christmas Lutheran Church and the Internationl Center of Bethlehem joined together with the Washington National Cathedral for the 5th annual Christmas service simulcast on Saturday, Dec. 17. Watch video of the service.
The Rt. Rev. Munib Younan, LWF President and Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, released his Christmas message for 2011, lifting up the waiting that Anna and Simeon had to do in their lifetime:
Imagine having to wait for all those years.
Yet Anna and Simeon were able to wait in hope in spite of their difficult circumstances, in spite of their challenging times. Their faith, their steadfastness, their edifying and uplifting spirituality, their community support, and their prophetic message equipped them and enabled them in their long years of waiting.
In the same way today, in our difficult circumstances and in our challenging times, we can learn from them as we wait in hope, not in resignation.
This Christmas, may we be blessed with the words of Simeon:
“Lord, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples.”
Simeon and Anna must have thought that it could never happen in their lifetimes. They must have had doubts and second thoughts. They must have questioned the promises. Yet they continued to live in faith with a hope that was unshaken. They remained steadfast in Jerusalem, finding support in community. They did not hesitate to speak forth a prophetic word. And through their patient waiting their eyes saw the salvation prepared for them and the whole world. Christ was born in a manger—good news for all people.
I pray that this model of hopeful waiting of Anna and Simeon may now exhibit itself in the people of the Middle East.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year in 2012!