21155 College BLVD
Olathe, KS 66061

Sunday, December 31, 2023 – First Sunday of Christmas

The sermon will be a post on our Facebook page. Please click on link to view sermon.

Go in Peace

With Simeon and Anna we receive consolation (Luke 2:25) and good news: Jesus frees us to go in peace. God’s Word is incarnate, and we have seen the light of our salvation (2:29-32). “Go in peace” is our call to action—a reminder that we are freed from sin and death and sent out to share that good news with the world. “Go in peace” is also our prayer as life ends—a reminder of a love more powerful than death.

And yet . . . right along with these words of peace come troubling words from Simeon. The infant Jesus will be a source of turmoil for his people and his family. The words “and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35) must have been the opposite of peaceful and comforting to young mother Mary. Luke even includes the detail that Mary and Joseph offered the least expensive purification sacrifice, a reminder that Jesus was born into poverty (Lev. 12:8). Even in the presence of God’s incarnate peace, all is not well with the world.

This is where we enter the story, full of questions. How do we experience God’s peace in our broken world? Faced with the reality of war, poverty, hunger, destruction, and loss, how do we speak of peace? How do we live God’s peace in our lives? Like Simeon and Anna, we have faith in God’s promise of peace because we have faith in the promiser. As Simeon and Anna witnessed, God’s word has been, is, and will be fulfilled.

Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

Luke’s narrative continues with stories that emphasize Jesus’ connection to Judaism. His family is devout in its observance of the law, and Jesus himself is recognized as one who will bring glory to Israel.

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, [Joseph and Mary] brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
  according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation,
  31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
  and for glory to your people Israel.”
33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.