Simeon’s Song

V0034650 Simeon holds the Christ child, who is holding an apple. MezzBy Claudine Lehman

“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 upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the spirit he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in arms and praised God, saying:

‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people. A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.'”  Luke 2:25-32

This final Christmas song in Luke is a worship hymn from the lips of Simeon, an upright and devout man who was waiting  for the coming Messiah,  Israel’s consolation.

The word “waiting” caught my attention as I read this. Maybe because I’ve always had a hard time waiting. This passage tells us Simeon waited and the Holy Spirit was upon him, and that he would live to see the Messiah. Therefore he was in the right place (temple courts) at the right time (when parents came with the child) to see the Child Jesus, Israel’s consolation. What if Simeon had not been a “waiting” person?

I noticed too that Simeon was worshiping while waiting for the “coming Messiah.” He was blessing God for keeping his promise even though Simeon had not yet seen the Messiah. He was praising God that he was going to be privileged to see the Lord’s Christ. This reminds me of a time my husband gently reminded me that I needed to start praising God for who He is even though I couldn’t see He doing anything. Simeon was a man of faith who worshiped waiting patiently.

I noticed too that Simeon was at peace. Peace while waiting. He wasn’t afraid to die. Death meant freedom from the cares and burdens of this life and blessings of the next life. His was peacefully waiting.

 “He was waiting for the Messiah the consolation of Israel.” [vs. 25]

Think with me for a minute about this word “wait.” How many ways can we wait? Patiently wait? Eagerly wait? Or do we wait “with a shove,” a hurry up? Do we wait in fear? Are we tired of waiting?  Impatiently waiting? The list is endless.

I believe Simeon’s waiting involved focusing on all the promises of God. It involved many times of quiet solitude waiting to hear what God would say–times of daily searching the Scripture to learn the will and ways of God. Simeon had been waiting all his life. He would have been a working man, so the waiting had to involve a regular work day when he looked at life through the eyes of God, not man.

Simeon was an upright and devout man, who waited for the coming Messiah, Israel’s consolation.

I want to be like Simeon–waiting with patient,  in eager expectation of what God has next for me. I need to find times of quiet solitude to listen . . . longer times to be taught by the Word of God. I desire a heart to be obedient to the will of God. I too am waiting eagerly to see the Lord’s Christ.

Jesus, Light of the World

falling starIf I really need some uninterrupted time in the morning, I bundle up and head outside to my porch. When the sky is deep and dark I might happen to glimpse a falling star. It’s never much more than a glimpse out of the corner of my eye at a flash of light.  In the short time it takes to look toward the falling star, it’s gone . . . burned out and fallen.  But even that passing glimpse of light against the dark sky is a wonderful gift.

When time permits, I linger on the porch until the sun comes up. From the moment the sky begins lighten until the sun tops the horizon, time passes slowly.

The sky takes on colors . . . clouds streak and change in the light . . . objects form on the horizon . . . a drift of cool air hugs the ground.

Just when I think it’s way overdue, the sun appears, flooding the landscape with light.

With the light of a new sun, tears well up in my eyes, and I remember the words to a song:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, new every morning … great is Thy faithfulness, O God.” 

That chorus comes from the book of Lamentations.

Have you read this lately? It does NOT paint a pretty picture.  It’s the sad song of Israel’s ruin.  But more than that, it’s full of graphic language about cannibalism, sacrilege, famine, drought, murder, rape.  It’s the darkest place of humanity–body and spirit–listed out in 5 agonizing chapters.

The story of lament takes us here:

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh, how well I remember – the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope. Lam. 3:19-21, MSG

In this utter darkness, there’s a flash of hope. If you blink you might miss it.  But it’s a glimpse of Light that’s so desperately needed in the inky darkness.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. Lam 3: 22-24, MSG

Truly, a story of lament (mourning) birthed a song about how the mercies of God are new every morning.

We’re entering the time of year called Advent, which simply means we’re choosing to focus on the arrival of Jesus.  The first week of Advent looks at how Jesus is the Light.

When I think of all that goes on around the holidays – humanly speaking it’s pretty dark, isn’t it? (Is that why they call it Black Friday?)

There are little flashes of wonderfully bright moments, but many of them are just falling stars of hope.  God longs for us to experience WONDER as we honestly focus on Jesus this season.

God invites us to experience a sunrise of hope as we wait, really wait for Jesus to come.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. Lam. 3:25 – 31 MSG

What would it mean for you to passionately wait for Jesus this Advent season?

Would it mean giving up something you’re already passionate about?

Would it mean taking on something new to honor him?

Would it mean spending some time each day differently?

When I sense that I’m having a hard time focusing on Jesus, I choose to offer something I’m especially fond of to Him. It’s been different things at different times.  And when I’m compelled or craving that “thing,” I pray . . . I wait . . . I offer such a small thing to Jesus.

The Advent of Christmas seems a lot like sitting on the porch waiting for the sun to rise.  I know the sun will rise and I want to be there when it does.  I want to see it pop up again. I want tears to well up in my eyes when I remember: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, new every morning . . . great is Thy faithfulness, O God.