This weekend is the beginning of the Advent season where we participate with the biblical narrative of the people who were awaiting the Messiah to come for a first time. I think that this is a reflective and contemplative time just as communion and baptism can be. I was reading Luke 2:25-40 this week and had a few observations pertaining to how we can experience Advent as a community of believers while waiting for Jesus’ return to consummate his Kingdom that we are declaring and demonstrating in the world by word and deed.
First, like Simeon we need to learn about what it looks like to wait and listen. He was “eager” (2:25) to see the Messiah, but had also heard from God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. This was a mission and goal that God had divinely appointed in his life that he could have missed out on if he had been too busy to wait on God’s plan to be revealed and fulfilled. How many times have you asked God- “What do you want me to do with my life?” Often this question is focused on finding a direction to go. Another common question is- “God, when will I get to be where you want me to be?” This question is focused on timing. We must understand that trusting God’s direction and timing is all about having the patience for the answer and results to happen. If Simeon had to wait for a long time to have God’s will work out in his life, why do we often believe that God’s plans need to work out within a matter of days or weeks? We must learn how to persevere and endure together by encouraging the growth of patience as a character trait in our families, churches, and discipleship relationships.
Second, we need to embrace God and praise him with the work and purpose he has promised and fulfilled in our lives. Simeon took Jesus into his arms and started praising God (2:28). Our praise is a witness of Christ’s advent to the world- to his first and second coming. Our praise gives us an occasion to grow closer to God and bless others when we come into a deeper awareness of God’s presence in our lives. That awareness allows us to live more fully into our identity in Christ and the gifts he has given us to minister to others.
In conclusion, let us grow in patience to hear and fulfill God’s appointments in our lives and praise him for his loving presence on a daily basis.