He was old and frail, but wiser than men twice his age. He was a man of steadfast faith, choosing to spend his time in deep prayer and service to the Lord.
He knew the words of the prophets by heart. The ones who had prophesied about deliverance more than four hundred years ago. Before God went silent. He knew the Messiah would come to free mankind, though he did not know when. Every day he wondered when the Promise would be fulfilled.
He knew the stiffness of his joints and the thinning white hair on his head and beard. He knew the ache in his back each morning when he woke up, and he knew the fatigue he felt by the end of each day. He knew he didn’t have many more days. But he also had a special promise, a knowing he clung to deep within his soul:
He would not see death until he had seen the Savior.
And so, with sturdy faith and secure conviction, Simeon waited.
He hadn’t planned to come to the temple so early, but he had been unable to sleep the night before. He’d tossed and turned on his mat before finally lying on his back and praying toward the roof until the first sliver of light from the sun. He ate breakfast, all the while feeling something compelling him to go to the house of worship.
He had just arrived at the temple for the day when he saw them: a man and a woman stepping into the courtyard. The man held a staff and the woman held a baby. He watched the young mother tuck the blanket under the chin of her sleeping child.
Simeon saw this often: first-time parents bringing their son to the temple on his eighth day of life. He knew the couple was presenting their baby to the Lord and offering a sacrifice, according to the Law.
The man rested his hand gently on the woman’s back – she was barely more than a young girl – and gently led her forward. The young woman looked up, and her eyes met Simeon’s.
Instantly, he knew. Deep within the depths of his soul, he heard the Spirit whisper: I Am here.
Trembling, Simeon walked to meet the couple. The man wrapped a protective arm around his wife, and she snuggled the baby closer to her chest.
Simeon reached the man and woman and slowly stretched out his shaking hands. The young mother carefully placed the infant in his arms.
The child was so small, so helpless. Simeon held him close. The baby slowly opened his sleepy eyes and held Simeon’s gaze.
With tears streaming down the creases of his weathered cheeks and into his beard, Simeon raised the baby up in the air, careful to support his neck and keep the blanket wrapped around him.
“Lord,” he whispered, his voice wobbling, “I can now go in peace, just like you promised.” His voice grew in strength until it was steady and strong. “I have seen your salvation with my own eyes, who you have brought for everyone. He is a light so the Gentiles can know who you are, and He is the glory of your people Israel!”
Then Simeon pulled the baby back close to his heart, overcome that the Lord would allow him to hold the Promise in his hands. Aware God Himself was bundled in his arms.
The man and woman silently watched the moment unfold. The mother of the Messiah leaned slightly against the man, both of their eyes shining in wonder at what was taking place.
Simeon bent his neck and gently kissed the baby’s head before handing him back to his mother.
Behind Simeon, a prophetess, old and frail, stepped into the sacred moment. As a widow, she had known deep love and deep sorrow. She had known the joy of companionship and the throbbing ache of loneliness. She was a woman of steadfast faith, choosing to devote her days to fasting and praying in the temple.
When she saw what was taking place, she raised her hands in praise. While Simeon continued to bless the child and speak to the child’s mother, Anna whispered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord.
The Savior had come.
Simeon and Anna are two of countless people who wondered when the Savior would arrive. They waited and prayed and fasted and sought to see God at work. They anticipated God’s answer to sin and shame. They knew with their whole hearts that He was coming, they just didn’t know when.
Just as Jesus came to Simeon and Anna in the temple, you don’t have to stumble around, aimlessly searching for Him because He has come to you.
Neither did the shepherds stumble into the stable on their own – they were invited. Moreover, they were chosen as the first to receive an invitation, and they were given the job of inviting others to come. To tell the world that He had come to save the world.
You are invited. You are chosen.
You aren’t chosen because of who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. Neither are you chosen in spite of who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done.
You are chosen because you are loved, and He came to us as one of us to prove this is true.
There was a star over a stable. Now there is a Spirit stirring hearts. Both inviting, saying, come and behold Him.
For the one who wonders if the good news of Christmas is actually true….come and behold Him.
For the one who wonders if God will come through before it’s too late…come and behold Him.
For the one who wonders if it’s too late to follow the Lord and live for Him…come and behold Him.
For the one who wonders if God has forgotten him…come and behold Him.
For the one who wonders if her dreams and desires even matter to God…come and behold Him.
For the one who wonders if the darkness of night will ever end…come and behold Him.
For the prodigal, the wayward, the searcher, the lost…come and behold Him.
Simeon and Anna wondered, but they never wandered. They trusted in God’s promise, and they saw Him faithfully deliver. They beheld the answer to their prayers – the Hope of the world.
If you’re ever tempted to believe God has given up on you…
If you ever doubt He could really love you after all you’ve done…
If you ever wonder if you’re wanted…
Your king has come to you.
For the wanderer…come home.
For the wonderer…you are known.
To those who wander, stand in wonder. Behold the One who calls you beloved.
The Savior has come.
“I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” – Luke 2:30-32