Yesterday I wrote a post about waiting, and am so grateful to those who read it. I really am excited about this Advent project. I feel, though, that the topic deserves a little more attention, perhaps from a different angle. So I decided to take a look at a Biblical character who embodies this ethic of waiting for God to show up. His name is Simeon, and he waited his whole life to see Israel set free by her God. One day he comes to the temple and there finds the baby Jesus, with his parents.
"This Child," I whisper. "He has come."
My fingers begin to tremble, I am without breath.
I fear to draw near to Him. I dare not. Who am I to approach the Godchild?
Yet, this is the moment promised me all those nights, in my dreams as well as in my waking fantasies. God has told me I would see the Messiah come to deliver us.
This Child, who comes with heaven in His wake. Funny, He just looks like a little babe, wrapped in His mother's young arms.
The spirit beckons me nearer but I am frozen by the Temple entrance, paralyzed by expectation.
This is the moment after all. This is the consummation of the promise, the restoration of Israel. All my long years I have clung to the hope, but in my senile age I have time and again forgotten. The light faded as I saw my people abused by the Roman scourge. Yet, somehow, miraculously, the hope survived in me until this moment. The little flame was stoked by a grace beyond me.
I step, my ancient knees and ankles quake. My head and shoulders bow instinctively as I approach. I do not notice I have begun to weep until I feel the tears bathe my sandaled feet. The father seems caught off guard by my unseemly displays of emotion but the mother wears a knowing grin. She nods. I straighten up and feel the flush of Spirit again.
She hands Him to me. In His eyes I see the stars laid out at the moment of creation. But I see a baby too.
I cradle the Child, Kings of Kings inches from my fluttering heart. And I can't help but sing, to the Child, to the Lord, to His dear, blessed family.
So I sing:
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.
And so, satisfied in the promises of God, I depart. I have lived as long as the Lord promised I would. I return to my earthly, temporary home, lay down and surrender finally to God's embrace, having seen His Word fulfilled for my beloved people. Thank you Lord, that I did not wait in vain.