Christmas Devotional

The Consolation of Israel

The Consolation of Israel

Wednesday Dec. 18

Scripture: Luke 2:25-26

As Mary and Joseph bring their infant son Jesus to the Temple for the first time, they run into a man named Simeon. Simeon wasn’t a priest or political leader as far as we can tell. He was just a very devout Jew who, we are told, was looking forward to “the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25)”. Because of his devotion, God had revealed to Simeon that he would see the Messiah with his own eyes before his death.

Let’s consider for a moment the content of Simeon’s focus which so pleased God that he was granted the promise of seeing the Messiah with his own eyes. “The consolation of Israel” is understood to be the coming of the Messiah who will lead Israel to fulfill its destiny to be a light to the nations through whom all the families of the world will be blessed.

This promise consoled the Israelites in their days of struggle, defeat, and disillusionment. Their pain, their wound, their failures, their sacrifices, their prayers were not in vain. God would send a Messiah who would make it all worth it, a Messiah who would redeem them and restore them to their God-given destiny. This is the consolation of Israel for which Simeon looked.

Where is it that we look for consolation? Do we console ourselves when life gets hard by thinking of how much better off, how much smarter, how much more popular we are than others? Do we console ourselves in the midst of life’s disappointments with drinks or pills to numb the pain of disappointment? Do we find consolation in nursing grudges and allowing hatred to grow in our hearts when we consider others who have slighted us or who have acquired the things which have eluded us?

Or like Simeon have we learned to look for our consolation elsewhere? Do we look forward to the way in which Jesus will use our missteps, our sacrifices, as well as our successes to draw people into His kingdom of love and light?

Wouldn’t any type of struggle and pain be worth it, if we knew God would use it in that way? Simeon believed it would be. And every Christmas when we read the second chapter of Luke, he challenges us to do the same.

Prayer: Almighty and Gracious God, when life gets hard, when sorrow overwhelms, and fear overtakes us, let us trust you will keep your good promises to us just as you kept your promise to Simeon. In all times and all seasons, help us to find our consolation, our hope, and our joy in you. Amen.

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