Saturday, December 20, 2014

Simeon Meets the Savior

One of my favorite Bible stories from what I consider the season of the birth of Christ is the visit to the temple when Jesus was around six weeks old.  This was the time a Jewish male child was officially presented to the Lord and a sacrifice for the child was offered.  In this case, because the parents were of modest income, they offered a pair of turtledoves.

This beautiful stained glass window in a church in Texas (above) and another window in Edinburgh Cathedral in Scotland (below) offer us a glimpse of that moment in time when God's beloved Son Jesus Christ was offered back up to His Father in the ancient Jewish ceremony.  This, however, was a ceremony unique in all of human history, because it involved the only begotten Son of Almighty God -- a tiny Messiah come-to-earth -- the hope of the world and the pride of heaven itself.

It was an incredible moment not only in heaven, but also on earth below where only a glimmer of that  momentous glory broke through -- but, oh what a glimmer it was!  As the devout believer Simeon held the baby in his arms, God revealed to him that this was indeed His beloved Son.  Simeon was blessed by God with a glimpse of who this baby boy was and was to become -- a vision that was perhaps this man's very life purpose.  Earlier, it had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had "seen the Lord's Christ."  On that particular day, the Spirit had brought Simeon into the temple for that very reason.

And so, as Simeon held the Lord Jesus in his arms and the Holy Spirit revealed the baby's true identity to him, Simeon spoke these words:

"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your
salvation which you have prepared before the face
of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the
Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel"
Luke 2:29-32

It always thrills me when heaven breaks open its fabric of invisibility and lets the glory of heaven shine through for us to see -- even if only for a moment in time. 

May we remember this precious birth and the purpose for which our Lord came to earth.  May we hold it in our hearts as Mary did and join Simeon in praising God for His most amazing Gift.  Let's join with the angels "praising god and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" Luke 2:14

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