It came! I’m a couple of weeks late in letting you know – and I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath, but my parcel finally arrived on the 13th of December. In the end it was perfect timing because I got to celebrate the arrival with my friend who was visiting from England, and we were able to decorate my Christmas tree together. 🙂
In the midst of the excitement of my friend and the stuff from my family/friends coming at the same time, I went to church that Sunday and heard a very fitting sermon. The speaker was talking about Simeon and Anna who met Mary, Joseph and the infant Messiah at the temple in Jerusalem on the eighth day after His birth. Both of these people rejoiced that the One they were waiting for had come after the many years of waiting for this promised arrival.
I have seldom heard this part of the story talked about. We talk about the visits of the shepherds and the magi to worship this extraordinary baby, but rarely do we focus on these two who encountered the Son of God at the temple.
Anna was at the temple because she had served there during the decades since her husband had died. According to Luke 2:37 she never left the temple. What devotion! I’m glad God gave her the opportunity to see the babe that would be the redemption of Jerusalem.
Simeon’s story is the one that struck me though. He wasn’t always at the temple. He was lead there by the Spirit of God that day. He believed God’s promise that he would live until he had seen the Christ, and he trusted the Holy Spirit’s prompting that he should go to the temple.
I don’t know if he knew why he needed to go, or if he just had an irresistible urge to go and worship at the temple that day. Imagine for an instant what might have happened if his arthritis was acting up and he just didn’t feel like following through on that particular urging from the Spirit that morning. Would he have missed out on the promise of God? If he hadn’t listened to the prompting and acted on it, we might not know his name or that he even existed. His story might have ended very differently, and I’m sure he was grateful that is not the case.
This man is a perfect picture of the anticipatory and active waiting that I wrote about last time. He knew the promises of God were trustworthy, and he acted on the promptings of the Holy Spirit that rested on him. He reminds me again of the faithfulness of God and His Word. He also reminds me that I must allow the promptings of the Spirit to move me into action.
Excuses are easy to come by, but who knows what opportunities might pass us by if we don’t allow the Spirit to move us.
I don’t say this because I think God gives us one chance and that’s it. You snooze, you lose forever… Thank God that isn’t His attitude!
However, Simeon’s story has made me very aware that God is not late in keeping His promises, and I must not be sluggish in answering His urging, whatever that may look like. Perhaps it looks like talking to someone on the street, getting out of the flat to work and worship in a different setting than normal, writing an encouraging note to a friend, or praying for a situation in the news.
As we finish out 2014, and look ahead to 2015 – pregnant with possibility, may the Spirit rest so fully on us that we don’t miss out on a single opportunity to see the salvation of God for ourselves, our neighbors and our world, and like Anna and Simeon, may we rejoice and proclaim His arrival!