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 his 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.”
The apostle Peter said the Lord is not slow about keeping His promises, though we often seem to disagree. We live in a fiber-optic world, where information is transmitted at the speed of light around the world. Even in space information can be sent very quickly, though billions of miles may separate a spacecraft from earth.
In today’s Advent passage, we see the response of Simeon, an old man who waited all his life for the messiah to come. He was elderly now and knew that his days were coming to an end. But the Holy Spirit had told him that he was going to live to see the messiah come. So when he saw Mary and Joseph walking up the temple steps one day, tiny baby in her arms, his heart leapt within him. Why Mary? Why Joseph? Why their baby? Was it something in their appearance? Don’t forget Joseph was a blue collar worker and Mary a teenage girl. Or was it something more, something spiritual?
It was the Holy Spirit who struck Simeon’s heart that day and told the righteous man that he was seeing the long-awaited messiah come to the temple, though in infant form. In the following verses we see another elderly person, a woman named Anna, who also had awaited the messiah’s coming. She came up to the young family, praised God, and then told everyone around her that the redemption of Jerusalem was at hand (2:38).
When hope is fulfilled, there is joy. When Simeon and Anna saw their hope fulfilled, what was their response? Simeon held Jesus in his arms (quite a contrast to the role Jesus plays as the Good Shepherd!) and praised God. Anna also thanked God and then immediately went about the task of evangelization. Hope fulfilled brings joy. Take a look at your life, particularly the past year. Were there times in your life when your hope was fulfilled? What was your response? Were you relieved that a loved one is safe or a paycheck came in the mail, or that a doctor’s visit turned out well? How about God’s promises? Did you give Him praise then? Will you now?
— Be God’s.
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for the hope of salvation that we have in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for His atoning blood, shed on the cross for our sins, and that through His resurrection we might have life in His name. We thank You for the hope found in His first coming and we grab hold of the hope of His return. It is in His holy name we pray. Amen.”