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Thursday, December 1, 2011

What have you been waiting for?

     This year I have the opportunity to portray Simeon in our Church's Christmas program.  Now most people would not naturally link Simeon or Anna, both who were prophetic people, with Christmas.  Even though, the fact is that in as far as the Christmas narrative goes, they both appear upon the scene after the actual birth of Jesus.  But then again, if we are looking for biblical accuracy, the Three Kings ( the Magi) didn't show up to the actual event either.  Yet our traditions have them there.  Then there's the little drummer boy, who knows where he came from?  ( though I must admit, "The little drummer boy is MY favorite Christmas show, though I hate it when the lamb gets hurt)       In Luke 2: 25 -38, Mary and Joseph are at the Temple giving the proper offering for a first born child, and dedicating Him to the Lord.  This is only days after the actual birth.  This is where Simeon comes upon the scene.  For most of his adult life, the Holy Spirit has told this man that before he dies, he will get to see the long awaited Messiah ( Christ) . He is now very old, and has waited for all of his life holding this promise in his heart.
     Simeon lived quite some time never having the opportunity to see even a hint of what God had shared with him come to pass or full fruition.  Can you relate to him?  Imagine living 60, 70 years or more,never seeing what you believe will happen because God told you it would happen?  He spoke it to your heart.  Yet, year in and year out, never seeing it come to pass.  That is living by faith and not by sight!
     As I play this individual in a few days, I will have to convey both the longing and the actual fulfillment of seeing prophecy come to pass before your very eyes.  The joy of 60 years of pent up hope released by seeing and holding a baby. The scriptures speaks his words this way,

                                 "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.
                                  according to thy word:
                                 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
                                 which thou hast prepared before
                                the face of all people.
                                 a light to lighten the Gentiles
                                and the glory of thy people Israel"

     Simeon's words fill my heart with both joy and sadness.  He was able to endure and apprehend what he had lived his whole life not seeing.  Facing the possibility of ridicule every time he would share his innermost faith with others.  Wrestling with unfulfilled desires as each year passed by with no new hope in sight, while tyranny's oppressive shadow blotted out the sun of a bright future.  Lingering doubt, bearing hard upon the solid rock of an inner knowing; that only a Spirit spoken word can create within your heart.  Imagine, living a long life with these feelings weighing upon your psyche?  That is Simeon.
     Then that day arrives.  The Holy Spirit spoke to his heart , and told him to get down to the Temple that morning.  How many false starts had he had before, when his mind had gotten ahead of his spirit?  But today was not one of those promptings, it was different!  This was the day that he would see, speak to, and handle the promise of all the ages.  Yet, deep down he knew that he would not live to see the Messiah in all of His earthly glory, that that day would come for him in the far distant future.  How would you handle that?
     When I look at Simeon I see all of us.  I am challenged to wonder if I would have lasted as long holding on only to a longheld promise with so little forward momentum to show for it?  Would I have aquiesced, and become absorbed into the futility  and despair of the world around me?  How about you?
     May I suggest that you take the time this year to start a new tradition ?  This year begin to add Simeon and Anna into the calvalcade of characters that you bring into your Christmas traditions.  Two faithful people who came just days after the birth, to bear witness that the babe was the fulfillment of prophecy.  Two people who show us that sometimes the wait is just as much a part of recieving the gift, as the gift itself.

1 comment:

  1. Simeon and Anna waited for the Lord to come - and we should spend our lives as ardently waiting for the Lord Jesus to come!