December 24, 2005

Seeing Eyes

Luke 2:25-35


Do you recall this nursery rhyme? Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I've been to London to visit the Queen. Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there? I chased a mouse from under her chair. The cat goes to visit the queen, but it's business as usual--the cat chases a mouse. She has no eye for the queen. We go to Bethlehem to visit the Christ child. But what do we do there? Is it business as usual--things and more things under the tree--or do we see the newborn king? Simeon bursts into praise when he holds the Christ child: "Sovereign Lord ... my eyes have seen your salvation." Seeing this salvation is what gives us peace both in living and in dying. When the painter Rembrandt died in October 1669 at age 63, they found his unfinished painting of Simeon holding the Christ child. It was a work in progress. Rembrandt painted Simeon as an old man, like himself, and blind. One historian writes, "The old man's cradling hands are immense, held rigid as in deepest prayer. His face ... glimmers with unearthly brilliance. Behind the heavy eyelids he has, at last, seen the light of salvation," and he is able to say, "Lord ... now dismiss your servant in peace."

Holy Spirit, open the eyes of our hearts to see our great salvation in the coming of Jesus, the light of your love for all peoples. In his name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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