For those of you who know me, you may find this hard to believe but I actually sang in a choir growing up in church. I can remember every year singing in a children’s city-wide Christmas program that always seemed to include one of the 4 “songs” from Luke’s gospel. Mary’s Magnificat, Zechariah’s Benedictus, the angel’s Gloria and my favorite Simeon’s Nunc Dimitis:
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. Luke 2:29-32
When I sang in this choir I had not as yet come to believe that all of these things we sang about were true. Like many from my generation in the South, church was primarily a part of my cultural setting. But I can still remember being intrigued by the words of this song and the story of this man’s life. A man who has waited all of his life to see the fulfillment of the promise that the LORD, the Covenant keeping God, had made to him that he would see the Messiah, that he would witness in introduction of the new age.
Over the years, as I have read through the Bible over and over again, Simeon continues to be one of the people who fascinates me the most. In our own day and time we want “fast” everything – fast food, fast cars, faster downloads on our computer, faster access to movies straight from our own homes. How well would we do in Simeon’s place, waiting what appears to be almost a lifetime for God to fulfill his word? Instead of Simeon’s prayer would we end up saying: “Well after all these years, all I see is a baby?!? What kind of Messiah is this, so small, weak and helpless? Well at least now I can stay at home instead of coming to this crowded temple every day!” I wonder.
I think of Simeon as we approach Ephany the day after tomorrow. The day that marks the remembrance of Simeon is usually February 2 according to the customs of cleanliness in the OT and the time Mary had to wait before going to the temple but I find myself thinking of Simeon over the past few days as I prayerfully wonder what the New Year will bring. This past years has been one of sadness, trial and struggle. Our Father knows that those things are needed in our lives to make us more like Jesus but I am hoping and praying that he is moving on to new lessons in our lives at least for right now. Until we find out I will continue to be amazed at Simeon’s love of the Father and his complete trust in what God said to him and will pray that I would become a bit more like Simeon in 2011.