The Gloria in Excelsis & The Nunc Dimittis

Notes & Details

Service Date
Sunday, December 24, 2023

The 5 Hymns Of Christmas

Scripture Featured
Luke 2:1-32

Speaker Preaching
Cody John Simpson


    • We started Advent looking at how Christmas is a celebration of faith. Now we’re going to finish by looking at another crucial concept of Christmas. This one is more acknowledged, especially outside the church, in secular celebration, but yet is still often overshadowed with the consumer-driven rush.
      • Central to the celebration of Christmas is peace. 
      • In the Bible, peace is much greater and grander than we conceive it today. For the Jews, shalom is not just an absence of war or conflict. Peace is rather the fullness of wellbeing. 
      • We are not people of peace, are we? Whether inside or outside the church, we live in an age of restlessness. We are restless, agitated, driven beyond our capacity. It’s not just busyness, it’s actually busyness without ultimate purpose that is stealing our peace. 
    • So where does peace come from? How can we attain more peace, and can Christmas as a holiday rekindle our hearts to the peace we have been offered by God?
      • I think the 2 final songs of Luke’s Christmas narrative can answer these for us. 
  • Luke 2:1-20
      • Here is the classic narrative that we recite in every nativity scene. It’s important to note that Jesus’ birth isn’t ordinary, because Jesus isn’t ordinary:
        • Luke 2:10-11 – The angel is clear with his proclamation. It is bold and direct. Jesus is the “saviour” a term that in Greek rivals the proclamation of the Roman Emperor (we see kingship obviously saving from some danger or predicament). More definitively the angel calls Him the Messiah – the expected Jewish leader who would be anointed by God to save the Jews and lead them in righteousness. But the angel also calls Him Lord. That is a Jewish title for God Himself. This extraordinary person has been born. So what does that mean?
      • The angelic army then appears and together sing: Luke 2:14.
        • In heaven God is glorified. He is magnified. This is a great thing that God has done. 
        • On earth, the arrival of the Saviour, Messiah-Lord means peace to those whom He favours. 
          • What kind of peace? Peace with God. We’ll return to this, but for now, peace with God is the ultimate peace. You don’t want to be at odds with the Creator of existence. 
          • Peace to whom – Not everyone, not the whole world. The world is not at peace with God, but in conflict, yet there are some to whom God is offering peace with through Jesus’ birth. 
  • Luke 2:25-32
    • Simeon’s song is one of immense praise. Personally he has received the great blessing to have seen the Messiah. The opening line of the song is best understood as Simeon saying he is content to die, because he has received all he ever wanted. 
      • “His eyes have seen God’s salvation.” Again, we see the need for salvation is mentioned in this song as well.
    • Simeon’s song shows he is well versed in the Scripture of the Old Testament.
      • The OT repeatedly points out the need for salvation from the human problem of sin. The religious lives of the Jews throughout the centuries hinged around the Temple sacrifices reminding them of the constant need to pay for their sin. The sacrifices never solved the problem though, and true salvation was an unmet need, but one that prophecy had declared would one day come. 
      • Here Simeon adds this beautiful reality – Light to the gentiles and the glory to Israel. We find this very thing prophesied in the life of Isaiah a few hundred years prior:
  • Isaiah 49:1-6
      • This section, and many others in Isaiah, are prophecies of the Messiah. 3 things really stand out for us today:
        • The speaker, (the Messiah), speaks with greater authority than any prophet
        • He is called “Israel,” and so stands in for the nation.
        • Will not only restore the nation of Israel, but will also reveal/bring God’s salvation to the rest of the world. 
      • This is the life and ministry of Jesus. He lived as the perfect Israel, and brought the message of God’s salvation to the rest of the nations just as Israel was supposed to. 
  • Let’s tie the loose ends together now: There is a need for salvation from our sin & brokenness – why? Because all sin and brokenness will be brought to justice by God. There will be punishment for wrongdoing. Thus the salvation we need is peace with God. 
    • This is what Jesus came to live as a man for: to bring us peace with God – not just Israel but people from all nations throughout the world. 
    • He did this by living perfectly and then dying on the cross for our sins. Now through faith in His death for us, we gain forgiveness from God, and peace with Him. 
    • Peace with God is the greatest gift that comes out of Christmas. 
  • What is also true is that peace with God might not feel like your biggest need right now. That’s normal, because lack of peace in other areas of life actually masks this need. But the deeper reality is that peace with God ultimately comes to remedy all other areas in our lives. 
    • God’s love is so much more meaningful than anything else. Think about it, for if the Creator of all existence loves you, what else can anyone else say about you? In God we not only find new ways of living that make us agents of peace in the world, but also give us a new perspective that destroys our usual strongholds of anxiety.
    • This isn’t just a message for those who don’t yet follow Jesus. Indeed if that is you this morning, please know that God seeks to give you His peace, and it only comes through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. But many of us who already follow still wander from this truth, and try to find peace in this life without considering the peace we have with God. Center your hearts on the gift of love and purpose that comes through Jesus, and rediscover the peace that restores and guards your spirit in the face of life’s challenges and trials.