Daily D – Luke 2:25-26
Luke 2:25, 26 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. (CSB)
Sometimes we need to skip ahead in the reading to put things in perspective. It is also to our benefit at times to take a look back. Luke places two verses in this chapter that make it sound like he sat down with Mary for a firsthand interview.
“But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them,” (verse 19).
“Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart,” (verse 51).
“What happened next,” Luke may well have asked. Mary then told about a series of characters who brought surprise, delight, joy, and a quickening of the pulse. First up was Simeon. He stepped into the circumcision ritual, “took him up in his arms, praised God, and said, ‘Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. . . .” (verses 28, 29).
The Latin words nunc dimittis (now dismiss) are often given as the title of what Simeon says, or sings, in verses 29-32. Listen to how Luke, via Mary’s memory, describes Simeon. He was righteous and devout and the Holy Spirit was on him (verse 25). The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah (verse 26). He was guided by the Spirit at that time into the temple (verse 27). Simeon experienced the shock of recognition and the joy of revelation. How could he not sing?
Simeon appears to be the initiator of the phrase, “to die for.” Having seen what he, indeed all Israel, and the whole world beyond those borders, had waited for, he could Rest In Peace. He could die happy. He saw a baby to die for.
Joseph and Mary were amazed. After months of amazing events, they were still capable of amazement. Simeon leaned in and blessed them (verse 34). Then looking directly at Mary, he spoke words of wonder and warning:
“Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed — and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed,” (verses 34 and 35).
Christmas just expanded beyond the manger.
I will see Christmas as so much more than one holy night.
Our Father, thank you for Simeon. Thank you that he saw your promise as something worth waiting for. Thank you that he celebrated what he had awaited. Thank you that he teaches us more about how to respond to Christmas. Amen.
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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”