Daily Bread December 31

We See That Which We Expect to See
Kris Judd of Kansas City, MO, USA

Now 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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided 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, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, 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, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”  -Luke 2:25-32

When we first moved to Kansas City, I was concerned about the crime rate which was higher than in my hometown. On moving day, I noticed what appeared to be a person lying in the grass in a local park, not unusual on a sunny summer day. When we passed the same spot later in the afternoon, the person was in the same place and position, and I was concerned that a crime had been committed. I decided to pass by one more time, prepared to call the police if the body was still there. Fortunately, I noticed the “body” was actually tree roots which formed the shape of a person, at least in my mind.

We see that which we expect to see.

Simeon looked forward with holy anticipation, for he believed he would one day see the Messiah. Devout and righteous, Simeon was on the lookout for God’s promised salvation in human form. Led by the Spirit he knew and trusted, he witnessed God in the flesh right before him and offered affirmation and praise. He could die in peace, for his eyes had seen God’s glory at last. The promised one had finally come.

The Spirit seeks to lead us to notice, to witness, and to affirm the presence of God in stranger and friend, creature and creation, ourselves and others. Do we expect to see the holy right in front of us? Are our spirits and senses attuned to the images and sounds of the One who came and who is still coming?

We see that which we expect to see.

During this Christmas season may you anticipate the holy, see it in whatever trusted form it appears, and receive its peace.

Prayer Phrase

“God within, God around. In all creation, God is found” (Randall Pratt, Community of Christ Sings 20).

Spiritual Practice

Prayer of Examen

Pray for the light to see as God sees, through the lens of unconditional love and grace. Offer gratitude for the times you have been aware of God’s presence with you. Allow memories to surface within that are inviting your attention. Confess moments of distance or separation from God, yourself, and others as you seek reconciliation. Holding all that has happened in the light of God’s love and grace, pray for the awareness and openness to follow the Spirit more intentionally in the days and year ahead.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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