Luke 2:29-32 "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."

This time of year there are lots of people talking about peace, the main problem is that the peace they are talking about is a peace apart from Christ. Sadly, because of our sinful human nature there can be no peace apart from Christ, for as we have learned in Romans: the good that we would we do not, and the evil that we would not that we do, o wretched men that we are.

That is why it is good that we note that the Song of Simeon, what is often called the benedictus, is not talking about a general peace, but a specific peace, a peace that is according to the Word, and so of course is a peace in Christ. You see for there to be peace, the first thing that is necessary is for there to be peace with God, and since we are all sinners, and since there is no way we can earn peace with God, the only way for there to be peace is if God brings to us the forgiveness of our sins. The forgiveness of sins is the center of what a peace in Christ is all about.

Sin breaks the peace, because sin separates us from God, it makes us enemies of God - God doesn't move - we, by sin, move away from God. The answer to this problem is of course, to return to God, a theme we see throughout the Old and New Testament- and returning to God is what repentance is all about - turning from our sin (which is a false god) and returning to God - but we can't even do this by ourselves - we're afraid to come to God because of our sins, and that is why God comes to us, bringing by grace through faith, the forgiveness of our sins.

We talk about the peace in Christ, through the forgiveness of sins as salvation, because not only are our sins forgiven but we are made a new creation - part of that new creation happens now, beginning at our baptism - and part of it will only be complete at the last day - for the new creation, when complete will restore to us the image of God, which was lost by sin - but it was how God created man - so this new creation, when complete will bring us back to how we were at creation, we would know God, and be at perfect peace with God. This is something we look forward to, for this is how heaven will be.

This is what Simeon has grasped, and he has been shown that the little baby (who is just a month old), brought to the temple, is the one sent by God to bring this salvation. It should be plain to all that here is salvation, for God has been doing everything in plain sight, he has sent prophets to prepare the way, to tell the people, to tell the world.

You see this salvation is not just for us, not just for the chosen people, but it is for all people - even the gentiles! We might wonder, if this light, might be a reference to the Christmas Star, what would guide the wise men to the baby Jesus - we don't know. But we do know that God did make the message plain and clear, it appears 4 times in Isaiah:

Isa 42:6 I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,

Isa 49:6 I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

Isa 51:4 for a law will go forth from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.

Isa 60:3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Now if this was "a light to the gentiles" - what was it for the "chosen people" - it was their glory, the very best thing, the greatest treasure, reason for giving thanks and praise to God each and every day - not only is this what worship is about - this is even more than why we worship - this is the meaning of life - that we might have peace with God, through the forgiveness of sins which is ours in Jesus Christ.