There is a great story hidden in the Bible Christmas story that is rarely talked about. We hear a lot about Mary and Joseph and their struggle to wait for marriage yet dealing with this whole immaculate-conception experience, and their travel to Bethlehem on a donkey. No wonder Mary was ready to give birth! Then there were the shepherds in the field nearby keeping watch over their sheep, and all of the sudden the sky burst open with celestial beings singing and shouting something about Glory to God. To say they were afraid has to be an understatement! Of course we love the wise men who traveled so far to give honor to this King of Kings, but there is another story that happened just a little over a month after Jesus was born (not too late to include in the Christmas story being the wise men were at least two years after Jesus’ birth).
Luke 2:22-24 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses (33 days after Jesus’ circumcision) had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
So off they went and in the temple that day was a very godly man named Simeon.
Luke 2:25-26 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Simeon had made the choice to believe in God and to make Him central in his life. This is a great challenge for all of us to not only place our trust in God, but to put God in that highest seat of influence in our lives. When it says Simeon was righteous, it means Simeon sought to live life God’s way and to live it according to God’s Word/the Bible. As well, Simeon was ‘devout;’ he had a healthy, reverent fear of God realizing God was more important than anything, even Simeon’s own wants, ideals, or purposes.
But the interesting Christmas challenge is that it says Simeon was waiting…a key quality and great Christmas challenge, for there is a hidden strength in waiting.
Psalms 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
To wait for the Lord is to choose to demonstrate dependence and trust in God, not passively, but truly leaning on God for life direction, significance, and purpose. This waiting then enables us to be strong and courageous.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Simeon’s strong and courageous faith gave him an amazing ability to be directed by God.
Luke 2:27-28 27 Moved by the Spirit, he (Simeon) went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace.
Oh there is so much more we could talk about around this interesting happening from the Christmas story, so read the whole story on your own and see what God says to you. Strength and courage are found in waiting for the Lord. Why not take this Christmas time and make some strides to be like Simeon and practice waiting. It could just be what your faith needs to grow.
Have a very Happy Christmas and a strong and courageous new year.
Seeking to Wait for the Lord with you,