Christmas Devotional

Simeon: Waiting on the Messiah

Simeon: Waiting on the Messiah

Sunday, Dec. 29

Scripture: Luke 2:22-35

Simeon was an old man on whom the Holy Spirit rested. This is the same language for the Spirit that is used in Acts 2:3 on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended in power on the disciples. Luke, who wrote Acts, says that the fire of the Spirit rested on each of those who gathered there that day.

The Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Luke does not tell us how long Simeon had been waiting or how long it had been since he first received this revelation from the Holy Spirit. It is possible that he had been waiting a long time to see that which God had promised him. Maybe he had been waiting his whole life.

How much do you enjoy waiting?

“Yay! Road constructions and long delays!” said no one ever.

Over 25 years ago the comedian George Carlin (not a pious man) railed against One-Hour photo development. “Doesn’t anybody try to remember anymore?” he said. “The event just happened! Can’t you wait more than an hour to look at the pictures?”

The digital age has revolutionized the way we take and share pictures, and some of you may have to ask an older person what the one-hour film development is (or maybe even what film is!). At first Carlin’s observation  now seems dated if not antiquated.

The point is this: the human impulse to find shortcuts to avoid waiting for the things we want is nothing new. Other examples from today’s technology abound.

We are  people who refuse to learn how to wait, and this impatience keeps us from being people of deep faith. We expect to have everything when we want it (how many of us took advantage of last-minute shipping to get an online order to our doorstep by Christmas Eve?).

But the God on whom Simeon waited does nothing “on-demand.” This Christmas let’s ask God to teach us to trust the Holy Spirit like Simeon. In this instant age, may we learn to wait.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we want what we want. And we want it now. Thank you, O God, that you are God, and we are not. Even though it will take time (perhaps a lifetime), please teach us to wait. Amen. 

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