It is refreshing to be driving at night and see the Christmas light displays. It doesn’t make 2020 go away – but it helps spark a tiny bit of hope. Seeing the manger scenes also help bring me back to what this season is supposed to be about.
The manger scenes usually feature the familiar cast of characters: Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, baby Jesus (of course!), animals, and sometimes an angel or a star hovering over the display. I wanted to propose adding one more statue or figurine to the group – a guy named Simeon.
It was over 30 years ago when I heard a sermon preached about Simeon for the first time. And last week, our guest pastor (Max Lucado) had Simeon as the main focus in his message. So who is Simeon and what’s the big deal about him?
We first hear about him in Luke Chapter 2:
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him . . . (Luke 2: 25-33).
What we can learn from Simeon’s example:
- He was eagerly and hopefully waiting for the Messiah (living righteous and devout in the meantime).
- He clung to the promise that the Holy Spirit had given him.
- He was ready when the right time came to be led by God.
My thoughts are that if #1 and #2 listed above were not actively going on in Simeon’s life – he more than likely would have missed #3. As a righteous man he had to go against what the culture said was truth. Being devout meant he had dedication, discipline, and perseverance no matter what his circumstances were. Having The Holy Spirit upon him allowed him to be sensitive to God’s voice in spite of the doubts and noise around him.
So when the time came for “that day the Spirit led him to the temple” – he was ready to step into the promise that who knows how long he had been clinging to. Again, without #1 and #2 he could have:
Slept in that day.
Thought it was his imagination telling him to go at that particular time and ignored the prompting.
Been distracted for even a few minutes where he would have missed Jesus.
Start fixating on the past and wonder where God was during his struggles?
Given up hope on the promise, and rightly so. Who knows how long he had been waiting?
He could have listened to the voice of the enemy and gone anywhere but the temple.
Unfortunately, several of the above statements resonate with my life – how about you? But Simeon stayed true to who he was and more importantly, who God is. And he got to hold the Savior of the World in his hands!
Conclusion – May we all strive to be more like Simeon. Seeking the truth in a world overflowing with loud microphones and false messages. Disciplined in a world that pushes us towards comfort and convenience. Clinging to God’s promises from the Bible and those He has placed in our hearts by His Spirit – instead of believing and following the ungodly and self-condemning voices that “mysteriously” appear in our heads. Merry Christmas!!!