It seems like almost everywhere we go, we’re forced to wait at one time or another. Our doctors make us wait in waiting rooms before we are treated. If we’re not waiting in traffic on our morning commute, we’re waiting at a red light at a nearby intersection. And let’s not forget how television networks make us wait for months to watch our favorite shows once they’ve aired the season finale. Waiting, it seems, is just a part of life.
In Luke 2:25, we’re introduced to a man named Simeon who we’re told is waiting on the promised Messiah. What’s significant about Simeon is that God Himself gave Simeon a promise that He would sustain his life until he saw the coming Messiah with his own eyes.
Wow! Talk about preferential treatment. So sun up to sun down, Simeon waits. Day in and day out he waits until finally one day the wait is over. Mary and Joseph are entering into the temple to consecrate baby Jesus to God. After God points the couple out to him, Simeon walks over, grabs baby Jesus in his arms, and begins praising God…
Now before I finish with the story, I want to pause and take a quick detour for just a second. Is there anyone besides me who’d be freaked out just a tad if a complete stranger walks up and grabs your little baby out of the blue?? Why in the world, of all people, did Luke include THIS random old man into the Christmas narrative?? I get the shepherds, the star, and the singing angels in the sky. I even understand the wise men and their gifts…but Simeon?? Really?? It seems like a call to the cops would be a better fit for him than writing him down into the pages of history.
The significance of Simeon in the Christmas story, I believe, can be found in the promise that God gave him earlier. Again, God promised that He would sustain Simeon’s life until he met the Messiah. Luke wrote Simeon into the Christmas story because Simeon understood that not only is Jesus the ‘reason for the season’, He’s the reason for life itself! He is the one who gives our lives purpose. Getting to know Him personally changes everything about how we live.
Jesus Himself said over in John 10:10, “I am come that they may have life…” Jesus desires to be more than a passing occurrence in our lives; He wants to be the One who gives us life itself each day.
Many of us still have lots to do for the holidays. There’s last minute presents to buy and gift wrap. Holiday meals still needing to be planned. Loved ones to spend time with. Among all of the important things that we’ll do this Christmas, let’s be sure we remember the One who’s most important in all of our lives.
Simeon waited a lifetime to see Jesus yet he never had a single conversation with Him. Not once was he able to talk with Him about his day…or about what was on his mind. Yet Luke tells us that Simeon felt that the one small encounter that he did receive was worthy of celebrating.
You and I have the opportunity of a lifetime—a daily relationship with Christ. That’s far more than Simeon ever had. And the beauty is we don’t even have to wait for it. It’s available to us today!
And this Christmas, that fact alone is reason enough to celebrate!