It was another ordinary day. Simeon’s duties were familiar and routine but always significant. What he did mattered.
Presenting people before God and dispensing blessing. This ritual was required and desired by everyone. Simeon was one of the few chosen allowed to perform this duty.
The payment for the service was placed before him, two small birds. This family was poor. Wealthy families provided a lamb but this family was not wealthy. They mattered to Simeon just as much as the rich. Before God all men and women needed saving. It was only society that cared about rank and class.
All first born sons were to be brought to the priest for blessing and to be given their calling.
Set apart for God.
This young family was no different. The mother, young and tired. The father, eager and proud. They stood before him on this eight day after the baby’s birth waiting to participate in the God-respecting tradition. Exhausted from the process of delivering a baby and the long days of traveling. This was no easy journey for the new family.
Simeon asked the child’s name.
“His name is Jesus.” The father said.
Simeon was startled by the sound the name made in the stale temple air.
“What did you say?” Simeon asked.
“Jesus, His name is Jesus.” The baby’s father searched Simeon’s eyes for a sign. He wondered if Simeon knew what the name Jesus meant.
Simeon turned and looked at the mother. Simeon could see the truth glaring back at him. This was to be no ordinary service. This was no ordinary family. This was no ordinary child.
All that Simeon had been waiting for was here. It was alive. It was shocking. It was….quiet. He didn’t think it would be like this.
His mind was rushing. Memories of a day long ago came to him in colors and words. A Voice entered his mind one evening. This Voice knew him. The Voice affirmed Simeon’s love for God and love for man.
Simeon saw beyond the here and now. His duties as priest were only meant to point to another time a time when God’s love would flow uninhibited to mankind. A new way to find the love of God that is so eternal and relentless. God’s love traveling through time, space and humanity. This invigorated and ignited Simeon on every level possible.
He longed to adventure with God, to believe that there was more to come, that salvation was fluid and liberating. The ancient writings spoke of One who would begin a new great adventure with God. This One would invite anyone who wished to come along.
The Voice told Simeon he would see the One before his own departure from earth. So Simeon kept looking. Through the years his eyes would continually see and wonder, see and wonder.
You cannot be looking for something if your eyes are not open.
Looking leads to seeing, seeing leads to wonder. Wonder fuels faith in a way that seems ridiculous to some. Looking for something that is not yet visible awakens the soul to believe.
Believing changed what Simeon spent his life looking for. It changed what he wanted, it changed how he worked, it changed what motivated him. He lived-looking.
Now, all that he had wondered about was wrapped up in this one moment.
His great adventure was only just getting started.
The people surrounding the birth and life of Jesus were real people. They often lacked faith and were imperfect. God sought them out and enfolded them into His story just the same. Just as He does you and I.
- This Christmas season consider the man Simeon.
- Read his story as written in Luke 2:21-35