It feels like I am in an extended state of waiting. With all the uncertainty of 2020, I am waiting for some form of normality to return! Unfortunately, what was “normal” may never return the way I would like. That reality contributes to a degree of anxiety in my waiting process.
In chapter 2:25-35 of the Gospel of Luke, we read of a man who was well acquainted with waiting. His name was Simeon. Those ten verses in chapter 2 are the only reference for him in the Scriptures. Although not directly indicated, we assume Simeon was an older man and likely a priest in the temple.
Luke describes Simeon as a righteous and devout man. Simeon is only one of six individuals in the New Testament, so designated as righteous. The accolade of being devout implies he loved and worshipped the Lord. Simeon’s life must have been one that was vibrantly alive. He must have been a great image-bearer of God to those around him. Indeed, Luke indicates that the Holy Spirit was upon him.
At some point in Simeon’s life, the Holy Spirit revealed that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. We do not know at what age he became aware of this prophecy, but assume he bore this knowledge for some time. Simeon, therefore, was a man of expectancy, waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Simeon longed for the fulfillment of the prophets.
Reflecting on Simeon’s life, I wondered about his daily life. Were there days that he awoke with hopeful anticipation: Would this be the day? As he once again walked to the temple, did doubt or questioning occur: Did I hear the Lord correctly? Did he have friends who questioned the validity of his belief or even mocked him? All we know is that Simeon persevered in his posture of waiting.
How does your story correlate to the waiting in Simeon’s life? Is there something you have been waiting for to happen? Instead of holy anticipation, I have experienced an anxious expectancy in my state of waiting at times. Simeon was waiting for Jesus, Himself. Instead of waiting for Jesus, I often waited for Jesus to do something for me! That form of waiting can be weary and burdensome for the soul.
In this final week of Advent, ponder how you are experiencing waiting in your life. On Christmas eve, would you offer to Jesus that for which you are hoping? Seek the Holy Spirit’s help to shift practicing the presence of uncertainty to practicing the certainty of Jesus. I wonder if Simeon loudly expressed those words of blessing when he finally held the baby Jesus? Did everyone in the temple hear Simeon’s proclamation of the arrival of the Messiah? May that day happen for you, like for Simeon, when your heart can express words of joy and blessing after your time of waiting.
Rev. Bob Ragan