Reading: Luke 2:25-35
Luke 2:25-26 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
What would it have been like for Simeon to wait? The Spirit of God revealed he would not die before he saw Messiah. All he had to do was to wait and be ready. His wait was for “the consolidation of Israel”. A powerful, emotional phrase for the relief of grief and suffering of a nation. Simeon’s patient hope was in God bringing release from captivity through his appointed person – an unknown Messiah. What would he have prayed as he waited? How would he have prepared? Who was he expecting to see? As the years passed, did he doubt his revelation? Would the waiting have been easy?
Simeon was ready when the time was right, “Moved by the Spirit, he went to the temple courts” (v27). There is no indication he was shocked at meeting Messiah as a dependant, ordinary infant. The forces against Israel and God’s purposes were powerful, vicious and overwhelming, the child hardly intimidating. Yet Simeon was consoled because he knew his hope was fulfilled. Simeon’s waiting prepared him to see what others did not. His eyes of faith saw this infant as God’s salvation and a “light for revelation to the Gentiles” (v32). He could see the turmoil the child would bring. He saw for the mother Mary, the tragedy she would suffer.
Advent offers more than preparing for gift giving and sumptuous eating. It is our time of waiting for Jesus’ coming. Our challenge is in our familiarity with the Christmas story. We think we know what to expect, who to expect. There is little wonder in this. What if we only had what Simeon had? The whisper of a promise amidst an uncertain future. In some ways, in our sceptical and struggling world, we might feel we have less than that. Could we grasp some of the anticipation, questions, wrestling, Simeon must have had? The waiting prepared Simeon for his Messiah’s appearing. Waiting ought to prepare us too.
Lighting the third candle: As Christmas draws near prepare us to see Jesus! In lighting this candle, may our waiting lead to renewed joy that Jesus Christ has come into a world which needs him.
Prayer: Eternal God: through long generations you prepared a way in our world for the coming of your Son, and by your Spirit you are still bringing the light of the gospel to darkened lives. Renew us, so that we may welcome Jesus Christ to rule our thoughts and claim our love, as Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom be glory always. Amen.