Throughout Advent, let’s look at the people of the story of Christ’s birth. This week: Simeon. Here is my take on a possible first person narrative from Luke 2.
I have tried to live a devout life. My parents were good Jews. They brought me up in the traditions of the Temple. We lived along the Coast of the Great Sea. Three times each year, my parents brought the whole family to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feasts.
I married and had my own family and repeated the same traditions. We also came up to Jerusalem three times each year. We celebrated Pesach, the Passover, in the Spring… Shavuot, Pentecost, in the summer… and Yom Kippur and Sukkoth each fall. These are special times for all of Israel, but especially for us devout Jews. It’s a time to remember how Jehovah delivered His people from the bondage of Egypt, how He gave us His Law and how He cared for us during our wanderings, before we entered the Promised Land.
Since my wife died I’ve decided just to stay here in Jerusalem. It’s easier on this old body of mine. I spend my days near the Temple. God is present in my life every moment. I pray. I sing. I do odd jobs for the priests. I pray for people who come by. I enjoy Jehovah’s presence in my life. I can sense His Spirit. It is real. He has blessed me more than I’ll ever begin to be able to tell you.
But there was this one time, it was about 25 years ago… during the Feast of Tabernacles when we all come up to remember the roamings of our ancestors through the dessert… we set up small tents called Sukkah’s to live in for the week. And we gather for a festive time of remembering. It was during the worship celebration at the Temple; the high priest had just returned back from the Kidron Brook with a vessel of water from Siloam’s Pool to pour out on the altar. In the frenzy of the crowd shouting “Hosanna!” I heard the voice of Jehovah. He spoke to me as I am I speaking to you now. All the noise of the crowd went silent And He said: “Simeon. You will not die before you see my Chosen One, the Messiah, in Whom I will deliver all of Israel. From Him will come streams of Living Water, not just a pitcher of water. And He will be poured out for the redemption of all of Israel.” In the midst of this great worship service, I was stunned! Living water? Poured out? The Messiah? Yes, we know He will come some day. But in my lifetime? How wonderful that day will be! Will it be as Joel has promised? Will the prophesies come true? Will Elijah truly come again before Messiah?
I am an old man now and I have dreamed dreams of His coming again. I’ve spent the rest of my life watching, waiting, wondering… who could it be? I look deep into the eyes of every man who passes by. Will he be like Moses or more like Joshua? He must be a young adult, at least, and Jehovah is shaping Him into our powerful King and Messiah. Every time I see Herod speak before the crowds I look around and ask myself: could he be a Jewish officer in Herod’s castle waiting to be revealed? What mighty legion of soldiers does he lead? Or maybe he is a governor, or a synagogue ruler by this point in his life?
Some have said he will come from the Galilee. Ha! There’s nothing but farmers and fishermen up there!
Whoever he is, I know I will recognize him in the blink of an eye. He will be as strong as David when he routed the Philistines! He will be as wise as David’s son Solomon. He will rule our people with power in one hand and grace and love in the other. He will deliver us from the oppressors, be it Rome or Egypt, once and for all. Isaiah says he will come to heal the brokenhearted. And those who mourn in Zion? They will rejoice!
Ah, look. There is a peasant couple with a young baby. They always want a blessing, these new parents. I must go into the Temple. Funny, the priest is quite capable. But he always asks me. “Simeon. Come bless this new child,” he says. “They rather have the old man bless the child than the priest.”
So, I will go. And I will keep looking.
I wonder if they are of the tribe of Judah? Maybe the father is someone special?