Summary: In the Gospel of Luke, we come across two characters who make their appearance in the final acts of the Christmas drama. One is a man named Simeon; the other is a woman named Anna. They don’t appear in any nativity scenes or in many Christmas cards, but
Waiting for Christmas
Kids have a hard time waiting for Christmas. Here are some actual letters that were written to Santa:
Dear Santa Claus,
When you come to my house there will be cookies for you. But if you are real hungry you can use our phone and order a pizza to go.
I want a Puppy. I want a playhouse. Thank you. I’ve been good most of the time. Sometimes I’m wild.
Dear Santa, (From a 4-year-old) I
I’ll take anything because I haven’t been that good.
I’m not going to ask for a lot. Here’s my list: The Etch-A-Sketch animator, 2 packs of #2 pencils, Crayola fat markers and the big gift...my own color TV! Well, maybe you could drop the pencils; I don’t want to be really selfish.
Christmas is often associated with waiting. I can remember one Christmas when I was growing up that I really wanted a Rock-em-sock-em-robot. I dropped hints everywhere. I wrote letters to Santa and cut out pictures in magazines and put them on my mom’s pillow. I even tried extra hard to be nice to my sisters during the countdown to Christmas which wasn’t easy to do!
When Christmas morning finally came, I jumped out of bed and ran to the tree. I looked for a box with my name on it. I looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. Do you know what I got that year? I’ll never forget it. My mom, who loves to sew, made feetie pajamas for all 5 of us kids my sisters had pink ones, and mine were blue. I could barely take the shame of it all…feetie pajamas instead of rock-em-sock-em-robots.
What Are You Waiting For?
Let me ask you some questions. What are you waiting for this Christmas? Are you longing for anything? What are you expecting to receive? Are you looking forward to anything special this Christmas?
In the Gospel of Luke, we come across two characters who make their appearance in the final acts of the Christmas drama. One is a man named Simeon; the other is a woman named Anna. They don’t appear in any nativity scenes or in many Christmas cards, but they are significant players in the first Christmas pageant. Both of these individuals were waiting for something -- actually, they were waiting for someone.
Luke uses a Greek word of anticipation that identifies them as waiting with expectation for the coming of the Messiah, or Savior. It literally means that they were “alert to His appearance, and ready to welcome Him.” We see this word in Luke 2:25 in reference to Simeon where we read that “He was waiting...” and in 2:38 to describe a woman named Anna who was, “...looking forward to...”
Simeon -- Waiting For Comfort
We’re introduced to Simeon in Luke 2:25. “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.” Simeon was righteous before people, and he was devout in His relationship with God.
Things weren’t going real well for the nation of Israel. They hadn’t heard from God for many years and were under Roman rule. They had lost their political independence and were living in fear of the capable, crafty, and cruel King Herod, and many were wondering if the Messiah would ever come.
Verse 26 shows us that Simeon had good reason for his hope and anticipation: “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
Simeon’s expectation focused on the comfort that Christ would bring. Among Jews of Simeon’s day one of the popular titles of Messiah was Comforter. Like some of the Christmas songs we just sang, they were longing for the Messiah to come and bring His comfort to them.
It strikes me that the desire to be comforted is a universal human need. We all struggle with loneliness, emptiness, insecurity, even desperation. In fact, the Christmas season is one of the major crisis times of the year for depression and suicide.
The Holy Spirit prompted Simeon to go to the temple courts at just the right time on just the right day that Joseph and Mary were bringing their infant to the Temple. When Simeon looked at the baby Jesus, now about 6 weeks old, he knew that God’s promise had been kept. Here was Immanuel, “God With Us,” to make everything right, to provide significance by His presence, and to eliminate rejection, fear, and loneliness.
Verse 28 of Luke 2 says that Simeon reached down and took Jesus out of Mary’s arms and began to praise God. Let me pause here to make a comment. Parents, how would you feel if some old man came up to you, took your infant in his arms and started singing out loud? I’m sure this was a bit unsettling for Joseph and Mary. But Simeon didn’t look all that dangerous. As he broke out into praise, he acknowledged that God had not only fulfilled the individual promise to him, but also the promises of the prophets to send the Anointed One to comfort both Jews and Gentiles.