Christmas Presents and Presence

By Kim Ogle, Associate Pastor

What was the best part of your Christmas this year? Being present, the presence of family, or the presents you received? Or was it the person who presented you with a present? Has it occurred to you that each of these words is used at Christmas?

Our scripture this week comes from the book of Luke, chapter 2 (Luke 2:22-40). The passage begins as Mary and Joseph arrive at the temple to present Jesus to the Lord. They also offered the “sacrifice required in the law of the Lord.”

There would have been many people at the temple, but our passage focuses on two devout prophets: Simeon and Anna. Each of them had a prophecy about this little child, who was being presented to the Lord.

If you have children, you remember how many friends and family offered predictions about them. We have four kids, and I could write a book about all of the well-meant predictions for their futures. Our sons were predicted to be musicians, pastors, athletes, or teachers. Not even close. Our daughter was so small that many advised her to play the piccolo. Nope. She played the drums in the church praise band.

To be fair, none of our friends and family were prophets in a temple. That might have carried more weight in their forecasts. The passage says that Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth, with the child, who grew up healthy and strong. Isn’t that what all parents want for our little gifts from God?

This Sunday, Dec. 31, is the fifth Sunday of the month. It is a custom at the Magee Campus to not have Sunday School so families can worship together on the fifth Sunday (or any Sunday, really). The presence of children is a present to each of us.

See you soon,
Pastor Kim

· 8:30 and 10 a.m. Traditional service in Magee Campus sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
· 10 a.m. Modern service at Sanctuary Campus
· 10 a.m. Magee Campus youth and children’s Sunday School (except fifth Sundays) and child care
· 10 a.m. Traditional service livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

Worship online at 10 a.m. on Sundays at or YouTube UMC St. Mark’s AZ. You can also watch the service at a later time.