“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 2:28-32
Simeon has lingered, he has waited for this a very long time. He had nights that had brought him dreams, wonderful dreams. People who dream are different; they tend to visualize what seems to be intangible. But they also can’t always get a grip on it. Or explain it. But when dreams mix with faith they produce incredible things.
Simeon is in the perfect place, at the exact time he needed to be. When he arrives, the baby Jesus is right there. Bringing our crazy, mixed lives to that spot sometimes takes a lifetime. The Holy Spirit however, has ‘superintending power’. That means that He will directly intervene in us to make things happen.
There is a baby. And I submit to you that He is the center of this whole narrative. Through the gospels, this is always the case. Jesus Christ is the pivot point of every healing, or teaching, in every parable spoken. It is also great drama when the dreams of a very old man encounter their fulfillment in this baby.
It is interesting (and frightening) to see our society marginalize people. It seems that those on the ‘ends’ of society are pretty much forgotten. The weak– the old, and the babies are pushed back. Not much room for them. Those in their 20s and 30s are our focus. I think we need old men and old women, and littles ones to teach us our theology, and discipleship.
Notice that Simeon addresses God in this encounter. We very quickly find that he is a believer. His words come out of a worshipper’s heart. They are plain and direct. He loves what the Lord has done already, and he is soaked in the beautiful promises of salvation. But, it’s just him and the baby Jesus at that moment. They stand and reach up to God, but just for a moment.
A word about the Gentiles. I think Simeon latches unto what was an obscure teaching in his day. That the Gentiles, ‘God’s unchosen people’ will be included with the Chosen. The promises extend out into the darkness–and these promises are luminescent. They light everything. This light is headed for the thickest, most dense night–the Gentiles.
A final word about Simeon. His work is done, he has no fear at all. He sees these few minutes with the Child as the ultimate culmination of his entire life. He is an example for us. And his understanding about the things of God is astonishing. Father, help me to be like your servant, and watch over me as I struggle to figure it out. Amen.