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December 20, 2022 Advent Reflection

December 20, 2022

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting… It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ… When the parents brought in the child Jesus… Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Now your servant may depart in peace, For my eyes have seen your salvation.”

Luke 2: 25-32 (selected verses)

As a child, I ignored this old guy Simeon. What caught my attention was poor Mary & Joseph in the stable, and shivering shepherds out in the fields, angels in the sky, wise men, and camels…

But the first year I became a minister I had to deal with this story in the week after Christmas. And the story of Simeon touched me with mystery, hope, promise, and wonder. And ever since, I’ve been fascinated by the account of an old man, faithful and devout, who was wise and receptive enough to let God lead him to the greatest discovery anyone could make. The Lord Jesus – as a babe; to hold and bless. Wonderful!

And now I understand much more. In the story of Simeon, there is a depth of truth that grows deeper and more relevant as one ages and grows older.

There were people like Simeon in all the congregations I served. Wise. Faithful. Devout. I confess that, as a 24 year old rookie minister, I was barely conscious of how special they were. But now, 44 years later I remember their wisdom, their calm confidence as they looked ahead. Their steady hope-filled living.

I like to think that similar to Simeon, somewhere in their past, they too heard God’s whisper of reassurance, that they would see and experience the Messiah, - the Christ. So they lived with patience and a quiet dedication, trusting that God would meet them and satisfy their longing for a glimpse of the Christ. Because of all of that, Simeon intrigues and inspires me; He saw and recognized Jesus in his every day life.

I’m still inspired by the wise elders I’ve met across the decades. I actually feel an inner challenge that, as I grow older, my spiritual vision would mature, and become clearer. Do we have the eyes of faith – to see Jesus? Would we recognize Him if we saw him?

In theory, when we have these eyes of faith, we can begin to see God’s presence in every day events, and ordinary people. Granted that none of us is the Messiah. Simeon was given an absolutely unique experience.

And yet, if we humans are made in the image of God, and have the divine spark within us, then there are glimpses of the Holy One in people and events all around us.

At Calvary we talk about the ‘goodness of God’ and rightly so. We can also speak of the ‘glory of God’ – seen or experienced in such varied ways - the magnificence of a sunset, or the giggle of a child, or the reassuring hug of a neighbour.

Look for the Christ – in everyday life, and like Simeon rejoice, as you give God praise and thanksgiving. AMEN.

Written by Nancy & Orville James


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