“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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 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” (Luke 2:25-28 NIV).
We live in a world of instant gratification—fast food, the internet, video-on-demand, instant messaging, and so on. The story of Christmas, however, is about patience, not immediacy. It’s about God fulfilling His long-awaited promise to Israel’s fathers, answering the hope of redemption.
Simeon waited (Luke 2:25-35). He hoped. He trusted. He waited for the salvation of Israel (2:25). And, as an old man, he knew that when he held the baby Jesus he would not be there to see the completion of the child’s mission (2:28-32), yet he trusted that God would fulfill His promises through this child. He only caught a glimpse of what he waited for, and he was content because he knew that God was faithful and would do what He promised.
In our world of instant gratification, we often want our faith to function in the same way. Instant. Immediate. And when it doesn’t happen in that manner, we go through a litany of frustration with God, excuses why it hasn’t happened, even blaming it on a lack of our faith or sin in our lives. Our faith can be rather feeble and immature when compared to that of Simeon’s, who had the patience to wait and never lose sight of the God who promised.
Are we content to play a part in God’s overall plan? Christmas poses that question to us. The figures of the Christmas story—Zechariah and Elizabeth, the shepherds, the wise men, Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna—all played roles in God’s redemptive plan. None of them saw the final fulfillment of His redemptive promises, and neither have we.
Yet, are we willing to play our part in His plan? Simeon waited patiently. He hoped. He trusted. And he rejoiced to see part of God’s promise fulfilled, knowing that the God who promised would ultimately bring His promises to fulfillment.
Lord, when we look at the world around us, waiting is difficult. Being patient challenges us, but we know that You fulfill Your plans and promises. So, we submit to You obediently to play whatever role You have for us for Your glory. Amen.