New Year Expectations

Bible Passage: Luke 2: 22-33

I think one of the best feelings in the world is when expectations are fulfilled. You know, when you have been anticipating something for weeks or months, and then when the time comes for you to have or do what you have been waiting for it’s just wonderful.

Who here found it hard getting to sleep on Christmas Eve because they were so excited about what was going to happen the following morning? I remember as a boy I wanted a particular bike that I had seen a friend riding – I was extremely excited about getting it for Christmas but the tension of not knowing for sure made the waiting all the more agonising! When I came downstairs on Christmas morning the joy and excitement of getting it was almost overwhelming.

I think holidays can be a bit like that, a school trip, or a fancy meal or a treat from some friends. I love it when I can lie in bed and anticipate and dream about what I am going to get for my birthday, or about the holiday we have coming up.

And I love what we read in today’s passage, because it speaks of the expectancy of Simeon, who knows he is going to see the saviour of the world. And the moment comes when he finally sees Jesus and his joy bursts out of him, he is over the moon. One of the reasons I asked if we could sing “Joy to the World” today is because I think it reflects what Simeon was feeling when he saw Jesus.

We’re in that strange time between Christmas and New Year. The excitement of Christmas has passed and we give our stomachs are rest before we launch in to the festivities of New Year and start to anticipate what the next year will bring.

I suppose some of you might anticipate it being pretty much the same as last year. Or maybe there some things that are going to happen which you are not looking forward to. Or others are hoping it will be better than this year. And some have had such a good year that you can’t see how next year can match it.

And then there are the New Year’s resolutions. To be honest with you, I don’t bother anymore because I know I will fail. I heard a quote over Christmas from a film, I forget which, where one of the characters says “I joined a gym at the beginning of the year, and then realise I had to go”. I guess I don’t want to set myself up for failure!

But when I read about Simeon I was struck with how he let God shape his expectations. He listened to what God had for him and trusted that God would keep his word, keep his promises – unlike me and my new year’s resolutions!

I love the phrase that describes Simeon as “a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy”

So I guess the question that I would like to bring to us today is what expectations does God want to give you for the coming year?

What promises does he want to give you?

God will never let us down. God will never fail to live up to his promises. He may not do it as quickly as we would like, or in the ways we would like, but Simeon’s experience was God being faithful.

What expectations does God want to give us for the coming year?

The activity that followed this talk was:

New Year Expectations