Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent: Simeon the Elder

One of the questions I think very apropos to us during Advent, is how do we respond to Jesus in our lives? As we prepare for His return and celebrate His birth; do we often think about the many ways He is right here with us? One of the things we can learn from is the attitude of Simeon the Elder. Simeon we are told by the scriptures was a just and devout man of Jerusalem who had received a promise from God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.

Do we cling to God's promises? Simeon did. He trusted that when God said it would happen, it would. God has promised us many things in our lives. Do we stand firm on His word and promises and believe them? Or do we go through life simply professing but not really hoping on those promises? Simeon in fact lived with the right attitude.

Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God.1

The word used in the Greek for took is decomai. This word has an inflection to mean not just 'take' as we say it in English, but also to 'receive' in a warm affectionate way. Simeon received Christ! He not only stood on God's promises, but the moment he saw Jesus he received him loving into his arms, and he thanked God! That's an amazing thing! If God told you that you would live until you saw someone, would you receive that person with joy and gladness? Most of us would run and pretend we didn't see them at all. But Simeon praised God for it! He praised God for the Messiah, for the baby Jesus and said:

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”2

Simeon received Christ warmly, with affection and love, then he praised God for what God had done! Then he proceeded to declare that he was ready to die in peace. Do we respond that way when God has provided? "Lord if you let me live through this, I'll never drink again!" "Lord just take away this pain and I'll never ask again", "Lord just let me make it to the place on time, and I'll die a happy man"..... All too often we think of God as an ATM and prayer the pin number. Simeon's testimony reminds us to stand on God's promises, to trust in them, and to thank him for every blessing; and above all to trust that God's plan is the right one.

What are some of the ways you can receive Jesus on a daily basis with open arms? Are we willing to embrace the Christ openly even if it means that our time has come to an end?

In Christ,

1 Luke 2:28
2 Luke 2:29-32