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, saying:
“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.” – Luke 2:25-32
Can you imagine holding the Messiah? Can you wrap your mind around being present when God came in the flesh to save the world? I asked myself these questions a few years ago when I read this verse. It is one that gets skipped over sometimes because it is stuck in between the nativity and the ministry of Jesus with the disciples. It struck me that God had ordained this meeting between His son and His servant to confirm for Joseph and Mary that all they had experienced was real.
It is easy to feel a little jealous of Simeon’s experience, celebrating the arrival of God’s salvation by holding it close to his chest, but I have since decided that we now experience something Simeon did not – the indwelling of Christ through the Holy Spirit. While Simeon knew who Jesus was and had been waiting for His arrival, he most likely was not living when Christ rose from the tomb. As believers under the new covenant, we have a fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that really is astounding; that God would dwell in us and make our hearts His home.
In this coming year, in the aftermath of the Christmas season and all the un-Christmas stuff that can come with it, remember that we have received Christ. We hold Him close to our hearts in faith. We celebrate His presence in our lives. We say with Simeon, “my eyes have seen your salvation” and give our praises to God. This is the meaning and momentum of Christmas; that Christ was sent and received and continues to be sent and received through the Holy Spirit to save the lost and heal the sick and feed the hungry.
Now we become the bearers of the gift, carrying it into the lives of others, presenting them with their “Simeon” moment. Our words and actions open the doors to present the gift to friends, family, coworkers and strangers, bringing Christ near to those He would save. Can you imagine holding the Messiah? Can you wrap your mind around being present when God comes in the flesh to bring salvation to a dying world? It is our privilege and promise as His children to carry these great gifts every day. Here is hoping that Christmas does not only mark the end of the year, but gives us the push we need to hit the new year with renewed strength and purpose.