Summary: Simeon and Anna don’t get much press. They’re never in any of the nativity scenes; they’re not mentioned in any carols and I’ve never seen a Christmas card with them in it. It’s like … they weren’t all that important! But God thought they were. Find out why.
Frances Green was an 83-year-old woman in California who lived by herself, and whose only means of support was her Social Security check. She didn’t have much money, but for 8 years she’d been sending $1 a year to the Republican National Committee. Well, one day Frances got a fund-raising letter in the mail from the RNC. It was a beautiful cream colored paper with black and gold lettering, and it invited the recipient to come to the White House to meet President Reagan. But what she hadn’t noticed was that the invitation implied that this was only for those who would give a generous donation. She just thought she’d been invited because they appreciated her dollar a year support.
Francis was excited, and scraped up every cent she had to take a 4 day train ride to Washington D.C. And when she arrived at the White House gate, the guard saw a little elderly woman with white hair and with white powder all over her face, wearing white stockings, an old hat with white netting, and an all-white dress, that was yellowed with age. She gave the guard her name. But the man frowned as he glanced over his official list. Her name wasn’t there. She couldn’t go in. And she was heartbroken.
A representative with the Ford Motor Company overheard her story and told her that obviously been a mistake and that she was to come back at 9 the next morning. Then he got word to President Reagan … who agreed to see her. At 9 o’clock she arrived full of anticipation and excitement, and in spite of the fact that the Reagan was very busy with high level meetings, when she came to his office, he rose from his desk and said: “Frances! Those darn computers, they fouled up again! If I’d known you were coming I would have come out there to get you myself.” Then he sat down with her and they talked for about an hour about her life and her family and about the city she lived in. Francis felt important, because the President of the United States said she was. ("The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart" by Charles Swindoll relating a story by Peggy Noonan, the speechwriter for President Reagan)
Now, Frances thought she’d received an invitation to see the President… but she hadn’t. By contrast, in our story this morning, Simeon and Anna HAD received an invitation to see the King of kings and Lord of Lords. In fact, they’d lived their whole lives in anticipation of His arrival.
Luke 2:25-26 says “there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for (anticipating) the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
And in Luke 2:38 it says that when Anna saw Jesus “she began to give thanks to God and to speak of (Jesus) to all who were waiting for (anticipating) the redemption of Jerusalem.”
These folks were ANTICIPATING the arrival of the Messiah. It was like they had received an invitation to see Jesus in person. (PAUSE) And when they saw Him, they were filled with excitement.
Now Simeon and Anna don’t get much press. They’re never in any of the nativity scenes I’ve ever noticed. They’re not mentioned in any carols that I’m aware of, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a Christmas card with them in it. It’s like … they weren’t all that important! (pause)
BUT THEY WERE! They were important to God! And do you know HOW I know they were important to God? God told us their names… and He told us what they said. Their lives mattered because God said they mattered.
One of the things that’s always impressed me about the Bible is that it tells us WE MATTER! It tells us our lives can be valuable. It tells us that God can do something with us that will make our lives worthwhile.
So here we have Simeon and Anna… and it seems they matter to God. IF I could just figure out WHY they were mattered to God maybe my life (and yours) could make a difference in this world too. So, what was it… that made THEIR lives so special to God?
The first thing I noticed was WHO they were.
God says that Simeon was “righteous and devout” (Luke 2:25). “Devout” means – Simeon was COMMITTED to God.
And Anna was an 84 year old widow who “did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.” (Luke 2:37) Anna was always at the Temple, and she COMMITTED herself to fasting… and to praying night and day.