Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for 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 he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32).
This past Sunday was The Presentation of Our Lord, the Sunday that focuses on Jesus’ being brought to the temple after his birth so that Joseph and Mary could bring their offering for her purification, and so that Jesus could be presented according to the Law of Moses (see v. 22-23).
There, in the temple, is a man named Simeon. Simeon is quite old in years, and he has been “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Simeon waited for the consolation of Israel because he trusted in God’s promises that such a time would come. He waited through Roman rule, Pharisaical hypocrisy and whatever his personal life brought him. He waited because he had a promise. He had the promises of the Scriptures pointing to the day when the Messiah would come and bring His people out of their various forms of captivity. He waited because he had been promised by the Lord that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ, and he trusted in the promise.
We, too, wait for things which have been “promised” to us. We wait for the results of a medical test. We wait at the bus stop for the 4:30 PM bus. We wait for our appointment with the dentist. We wait for the promised “associate” to take us off hold and answer our questions. We wait for a package to arrive at the appointed delivery time. We wait for the repairman to come between 10 AM and 2 PM. We wait for our Lord to come again. We wait for our own consolation.
We wait for God’s Christ to show up.
But sometimes, in our waiting, we forget. We forget the promises. We forget their fulfillment. We forget to trust in those promises. We forget why we wanted God’s Christ to appear at all. After all, we don’t have a direct Word from God like Simeon did. We haven’t had some special promise revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, some personal revelation. So it’s easy to forget. Our situation is not really the same as Simeon’s anyway.
Or is it?
Like Simeon, we do wait for the consolation of God’s people. Like Simeon, we are righteous and devout. Not because of anything in ourselves, but because we have been declared so by God in Christ! Like Simeon, we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit through our Baptisms. And like Simeon, the Holy Spirit has revealed God’s promises to us through the preaching of the Word and the forgiveness of sins proclaimed to us by our pastors.
But unlike Simeon, we really do not have so long to wait because we already hold the Christ in our hands every Sunday when our pastor distributes His Body and Blood to us to eat and to drink. We have already seen God’s consolation come to us and to all people in Christ Jesus. We see and we know that the Light of the Gentiles and the Light of the glory of God’s people is here, doing His work among us and in the world. So we wait for our Lord who continuously comes. We wait in hope. We wait because we trust in God’s promises. We wait and yet, we don’t wait. We hold the Christ in our hands, and we know that we have seen His salvation.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, sustain us in our waiting and continuously remind us that You have fulfilled all of Your promises through Your Son, Jesus Christ, so that we may live in hope and trust and may know Your consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.