How Long Have you Been Waiting?
An Obscure Christmas Character.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:25-32
I love the Christmas season. The scents, the celebrations, the anticipation, choirs rehearsing, Christmas parties are in order, special Christmas programs everywhere, Christmas carols on most radio stations. All churches are preparing for the birth of Christ. It is indeed an awe-inspiring season. We listen to the old and well-loved story of Mary, Joseph, the wise men (how many were they by the way? Did anyone say they were three?), the shepherds, the angels, and Oh..Herod. This year though, I am focusing on the character of Simeon (maybe it’s a sign that I am getting older). We don’t hear much about Simeon during Christmas, yet he plays a crucial role in the Christmas story. Simeon, as Luke tells us, “was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” The Lord promised Simeon he would not die before he saw the Christ. This promise had no timeline attached to it, it had no launch date and no premier ads. Simeon had no clue how long he would have to wait to see the fulfillment of the promise, but he waited in faith and expectation. As Tozer puts it so eloquently, “Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” There is always a price tag attached to the wait, and you get to choose which tag it will be. Will it be the tag of faith and joy, or will it be that of doubt and anxiety? There are general promises in the Bible meant for everyone who reads the Holy Book. There are other promises laid up for those who spend time in God’s Presence, loving him with all their might and strength. “The secret of the Lord have they who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.” Psalm 25.14 Waiting on the Lord is no easy task; it can become painful and sometimes even beget anxiety and doubt. But we see Simeon waiting for that one event that will transform the history of the universe. This baby whom Simeon is waiting to lay eyes upon will split history into ‘before’ and ‘after’ His birth. This event will become the benchmark for all times, calendars, and seasons. Was Simeon’s wait worth his while? Definitely! On the 41st day of Jesus’ life, Mary and Joseph took the child to the temple, as was the custom of the Jews. I don’t think Simeon fully realized Who he had in his wrinkly arms. Simeon’s prophecy was unheard of before: this child has come to save all nations: Israel and the Gentiles. Simeon, were you aware that you were the first one to announce this prophecy, which was both politically incorrect and extremely offensive to many? But Simeon had to reveal what the Spirit was telling him about this newborn baby. We, too in the Middle East, are waiting for God’s promises of a massive revival. And although everything points in the opposite direction, yet God’s promises prevail. This Christmas season, if God has given you a promise, hold on to it. Don’t waiver. Don’t doubt. Don’t be anxious. Our God need only say the thing once. He does not need to repeat it. When He said ‘Let there be Light,’ He never had to repeat it again. Hold on to God’s promises and have a very Merry Christmas. Wahid and Laila Wahba