THE WAITING GAME
As Mary pondered over all these things in her heart, ponder in prayer on this day we celebrate the birth of the Messiah.
Read Luke 2:21–35
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]
25 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 on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[c] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
a Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
b Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8
c Luke 2:29 Or promised, / now dismiss
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectMull over the details Luke has given us. Consider the impact Jesus has had on the world, and on you.
Do you remember how the build-up to Christmas felt when you were a child? In my home, we started to get excited pretty early—around the time the clocks went back and we needed the heating on in the evenings. The closer the big day came, the more slowly the days seemed to pass. It was like a vaguely pleasant form of torture!
The people of Israel had been waiting for their Savior for so long that many had given up thinking about him at all. It was just too hard to be expectant when they couldn’t predict the time frame. But one man hadn’t lost his focus. Simeon was “righteous and devout” (25), and God rewarded him for his hopeful anticipation: before he died, he cradled the infant Jesus in his arms.
We live in the part of the story after one of the major hinges in the plot, but before the grand climax. We have some waiting to do ourselves, and we quite possibly won’t see the finale, the coming of heaven to earth, in our lifetime. As the writer to the Hebrews urged, let’s “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1,2).
However you celebrate Christmas, make sure that your eyes are fixed on Jesus, the one Simeon was waiting for and the one whose return we still await today.
Jesus, I fix my eyes on You today. May the wonder of the gift of Your presence settle in my heart throughout the year.