December 29, 2017

Patient Anna and Simeon

Luke 2:22-38

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

—  Luke 2:26

An old man stands in the temple with a baby in his arms. Chuckling with giddy joy, or lost in wonder? Then he announces that he has seen God’s salvation and he can die in peace.

But what has Simeon seen, really? It’s just a little child in his arms, a speechless newcomer to the world. Whatever salvation this baby might work is still only a promise and a hope. But Simeon stands there in grateful anticipation at the future he holds in his hands.

Then there is the prophet Anna, also old and approaching the end of her days. She adds to the joy and praise of the moment.

By the time Jesus becomes a grown man, Simeon and Anna will have died. They will not be able to see with their own eyes what Jesus does as the Savior of the world. But in their patient faith they saw enough to know that God is true to his promises.

Today we know more than they did, for we have the rest of the gospel story. And we hope for more. Having tasted the kingdom’s presence, we hunger and thirst for its coming completely when Jesus comes again.

But for now, may we stand here in patient faith, like Anna and Simeon, and say, “We have seen him, and that’s enough for now. We know and trust that the Lord will keep his promises.”

Holy God, fill our hearts with wonder, strength, and patience at the revelation of your glory that we have seen in Christ, our Lord. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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