Posts Tagged ‘Simeon’

On this first Sunday of Advent, I want to begin a series of advent thoughts. No other historical event has affected the entire world as has the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  Even if Christians have used the wrong date, according to Pope Benedict (CNN 11/23/2012), the fact of his birth is not disputed.

Four themes inspire the common Christian celebration of advent: waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah.  These are the themes I want to look at on each of the four Sundays of advent. I hope you’ll be blessed with these thoughts.

simeonFirst Sunday   of Advent – Waiting

Scripture:  Romans 13:11-13 (NLT)

11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see.

Luke concludes his story of the birth of Jesus with the presentation in the temple, according to Jewish law, eight days after his birth.  As the holy couple was entering the temple with their newborn child, they are confronted first by the prophet Simeon, who had been told that he would see the Messiah before he died. “He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come . . . . (2:25).

We live in the day of immediate gratification. Computers don’t run fast enough, information isn’t accessible enough, and our wants and desires can’t be satisfied quickly enough.

What if someone told you—with certainty—that the whole reason for your existence, the fulfillment of your life’s purpose, would not happen until you were very old!  No matter how impatient you were, you would have to wait—just wait . . . .keep waiting . . . .not yet . . . not now . . . just wait.

Think of everything unanticipated that might change the plan . . . no, just wait.

What if the plan doesn’t work? . . . .no, just wait.

What if the plan was just a myth?  . . . no, just wait.

What if I mess the plan up? . . . no, just wait.

Simeon waited his whole life, then held baby Jesus in his arms and praised God:

Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.30 I have seen your salvation,31 which you have prepared for all people.32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

I love how Anna the prophetess responded moments later, when she realized what Simeon was saying and what it meant:    . . . she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”

We Christians believe that the wait for God to come down to man is over!  We wait no more for the Promised One. We do not wait for salvation? In Jesus, the Creator of the Universe has completed His work of redeeming what was destroyed by Sin.

But we are not finished waiting! And we wait with the same certainty that Simeon and Anna waited.

God has not waited. The end of the story is written. Only we wait . . . confidently . . . while praising God . . . and telling everyone . . . while we wait!

You may want to sing this song . . .  while you wait:

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

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