Waiting With Reverence, Rejoicing With Wonder, Holding On With Hope!
Every aspect of the Christmas story is amazing and for me it’s not easy to decide what part is the most special. However, one thing I find is that each year there’s usually one portion of the biblical story surrounding Christ’s birth that grabs my attention the most. This year I’ve been reflecting on what took place when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple, where He was greeted by Simeon. Notice how he was described by the biblical passage inserted here. He was righteous and devout, anticipating the arrival of the Messiah! He was looking forward with a sense of trusting obedience toward God!
Here are three lessons we can learn from Simeon:
1) Simeon lived at a time when most of the people in Jerusalem had a sense of hopelessness. But because he was faithfully focused on God’s promises, he was filled with hope! There had been 400 years since any prophets had spoken to encourage (or even warn) the Jewish people. At first, the rabbis and leaders were stumped when asked to help the Wise Men find the newborn King of the Jews. I can’t say for certain, but I strongly suspect that if the Wise Men had asked Simeon, he would have known that Micah had accurately prophesied that the Christ Child was going to be born in Bethlehem. He believed God would fulfill His promises! He had to be a faithful student of God’s Word because he clearly understood God’s plan!
2) Simeon was devout! This means he wasn’t caught up in the politics and trivial trends of his day, but instead was both committed and careful about maintaining a close walk with God. He wasn’t distracted by things that would divert his attention away from giving the proper priority to his relationship with God. It’s interesting that his expression “Now Lord” in verse 29 is a term rarely used in the Bible for “Lord.” It emphasizes the idea of ownership and identifies that he viewed God as having absolute sovereign authority. Simeon’s testimony gives us an picture of true devotion and commitment!
3) Simeon was greatly influenced by the Holy Spirit! Even though he lived prior to the time when God’s Spirit would literally take residence by indwelling a person’s life, his lifestyle and choices were consistently being guided and guarded by God’s Spirit. Notice how many times the Holy Spirit is mentioned in these verses referring to Simeon (vss 25, 26, & 27). Here we see an example of what it means to rely on God’s Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, and to impact our attitudes when we might be tempted to fall in line with the cynical and skeptical