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Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Morning: Song of Simeon

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed, and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.
Oh, what a blessed day!  Did you see Him!?!?!  Did you SEE Him?!?!?!  That little baby, the one that I just held so tenderly in my arms, and did you hear His name?  They called Him Jesus, meaning “God Saves!”  How appropriate, because God will indeed save through that child, for He is the Lord’s Anointed One, the Redeemer of the world.  And I, Simeon, a simple man of Jerusalem, had the privilege, the honor, the blessing of holding God’s own Son in my arms!  Oh, please excuse me.  I must sound absolutely crazy to you.  Let me explain.
            Shalom.  God’s peace to you.  My name is Simeon.  I have anxiously anticipated this day like the watchman waits for the morning.  You see, like many I have been eagerly waiting for the consolation of Israel, that is, I have been waiting for the long expected Messiah to appear.  Years ago the Lord revealed to me that I would see His Anointed One with my very own eyes before I die.  Little did I know I would be able to hold Him in my arms.  Oh, what a blessed day!  I have thought about this day and what would be like many times.  But I have to be honest, I did not expect it would happen in this way.  I don’t quite know what I was imagining, but I definitely did not expect to see the Savior of the world come as a baby.  It’s hard to imagine that child being the Lord’s Christ, but I digress.  Let me tell you about what I experienced today.
            Today, I was simply going about my business when the Lord spoke to me, and told me to come to His temple.  I didn’t quite know what awaited me, but I hurried as fast as I could.  When I first arrived, I was a little disappointed.  It seemed like business as usual.  People were coming and going, bringing their offerings to the Lord.  The priests were going about their temple duties paying no attending to the crowds surrounding them.  I was just about to ask God why He had brought me here, but then, I saw them; three figures making their way anonymously through the crowd.  No one was paying any attention to the small family as they approached, for there wasn’t anything special about their appearance.
They looked like any other poor peasant family would.  With the tiny baby in their arms you could tell that they were coming for the purification of the mother and the dedication of their firstborn son as required by the Law of Moses.  They brought with them two pigeons as an offering, the alternative sacrifice for those who could not afford a lamb.  Nothing in particular made them stand out from the faceless crown surrounding the temple.  Even when they caught my eye, I didn’t notice at first, but then the Lord spoke: “This little child, this infant, is My Son, My Anointed One.  He is the glory of Israel and the light to the Gentiles.”  And with that my eyes were opened to see what the masses couldn’t. 
I couldn’t help myself and rush over to them.  I asked His parents if they would let me take Him in my arms.  They were surprised at my request, but willing to do so.  When I took Him, I felt…I felt alive in a way that I never have before.  I felt the Lord’s Spirit stirring within me as I looked upon this little child.  There was a beauty, and innocence, and majesty in his eyes that I couldn’t even begin to describe.  I knew, as I stood there holding Him that I was now holding the coming Christ.  My eyes have seen God’s salvation, as He revealed to me by His Word, and I was at peace.  I am free to depart like the watchman who sees the rising sun, for the Son has finally been revealed.  My days of waiting are over.  OUR days of waiting ARE OVER.
As Isaiah foretold of old, God is doing a new thing.  Through this child, He will establish a covenant of peace for all peoples, Jew and Gentile alike.  Through His Christ, God will gather all nations to Himself, bringing justice to the oppressed, giving sight to the blind, making the lame dance and the mute shout for joy.  All knees will bow and all tongues confess that He is God alone.  To those who sit in darkness He brings this marvelous light of revelation: this child will deliver the world from our sins.  Surely, God’s Spirit rests upon Him in a way like never before, for when this child entered the temple God Himself returned to His Holy House.
For when I looked into His eyes I saw much.  I saw life, and I saw death.  I saw hope, and I saw despair.  I saw the beginning, and I saw the end.  In Him, I saw everything there was, and is and is to come, for in this little baby, I saw the very presence of God.  The heavens sing for joy and the earth exalts Him, for the one who has stretched out the heavens with His hand and laid the foundations of the earth has come to redeem His people!  The Lord has returned to Zion!  His salvation is here!  This is the news that I declare to you today!  As Isaiah declared, “The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
There are no words to describe the moment I realized what child this is all that lay before Him.  At first, I was amazed that God would choose such a birth, but as I gazed into His eyes the words of the prophets rang in my ears.  “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.  As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.”  
Who will believe me?   Who has seen the arm of the Lord revealed?  For this child is God’s servant.  He will be great before the Lord, obeying all He has said, but He will be despised and rejected by men.  As Isaiah predicts, “Surely he will bare our griefs and carry our sorrows; yet we will esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he will be pierced for our transgressions; he will be crushed for our iniquities; upon him will be the chastisement that brings us peace, and with his wounds we will healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He will be lead like a lamb to the slaughter, and on account of His suffering and anguish we, who have gone astray, will be counted as righteous.  For our sake, he will bear our sins so that we might be inheritors of His kingdom.  It is for this reason that the Christ child has been born.  No doubt He will cause the fall and rise of many, for He is a sign to be opposed.  But for those who have faith, we will be redeemed and with everlasting love the Lord will show compassion on us.  His steadfast love will never depart from us and His covenant of peace will never be removed.  We shall be with the Lord forever.  And we shall have all this for the sake of this child.

So did you see Him?  Did you see the Christ child?  Did you see Jesus?  He is the Anointed One, God’s Salvation come at last!  Now, please excuse me, as I must go tell all that will listen!  Shalom.  Oh, Anna!  Anna, I’ve got something to tell you!

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