By Randy C. Davis
President and executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
Just yesterday, a friend showed me the gift he’d gotten his mother for Christmas. It’s unique, encouraging and it will surprise her socks off. Few people have seen the gift he’s giving and I’m so excited about it because I know she’ll love it. I wish I could share what it is, but I can’t. It’s a secret.
Christmas is a time for secrets.
My favorite Christmas story involves a secret. Luke 2:25-26 reads, “ And behold there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him, 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.”
During a period of spiritual dryness in the life of God’s people, this faithful servant maintained the worship rituals embracing the sure word of the Lord that the long-awaited Christ would soon arrive. Heaven would be invading earth. The expectancy of the promise filled this faithful servant’s heart with hope.
Hope propels vision and dispels fear. Hope gives strength and courage for times of trial and pain. Hope gives the ability to envision the goal and plow ahead through obstacles. Simeon was filled with faith in God and the Holy Spirit fueled his hope by revealing to him the secret of the coming Messiah. It was a Christmas secret wrapped in hope.
Simeon reminds me of the hundreds of faithful pastors I have met across Tennessee. Men serving faithfully in a season of spiritual drought across our land.
They often serve in obscurity and in out-of-the-way places. They never find themselves on a platform preaching to thousands. They bear no titles of distinction, receive no applause, and public recognition rarely finds them. However, they live godly Holy Spirit filled lives and stand without compromise every Sunday to preach the Word of God. A word of hope.
It is one thing to preach it, but another to hang in there week, after week, after week — and by faith — hope in things not seen. The great expectation of God is that we remain faithful to our pastoral posts and to His calling on our lives.
Perhaps the most precious verse of Scripture in the story of Simeon is when Simeon prayed with the little child Jesus in his arms, “Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word. For my eyes have seen your salvation!” (v. 29).
The sure hope that the Christmas secret brought this faithful man allowed Simeon to finish well. Thank you, faithful servants, for staying the course to the end.
It is a joy to be with you on this journey.
Merry Christmas! B&R