Monday, December 20, 2010

All I want for Christmas is...

Now there was man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Luke 2:35 (NIV)

In and of itself contentment is a challenging concept. Throw Christmas into the mix and you have a situation that evokes confusing, often conflicting, emotions. Writer Bill Crowder offers a thoughtful perspective on living a contented life in "The Stories of Simeon and Anna."

Simeon, a man of advanced years, had been a fixture at the temple in Jerusalem for longer than anyone could remember. He kept showing up honoring his God, waiting for the Promise. In Luke chapter two the New Testament writer captures the devotion of this faithful man in only a few insightful words.

For hundreds of years the Jewish people had comforted one another with the promise of the Messiah, the long-awaited hope of the ages. During times of national crisis they cried out for its fulfillment; during days of prosperity they rested in its assurance. We're not told when, or even how, but at some point Simeon was given a promise that he would not see death until he saw the Messiah: It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26).

Simeon's hope came from this remarkable promise and it radically affected the way he viewed life and the way he lived his life. He would not only live until Messiah arrived, he would personally see the Anointed One. We get the impression from Luke's writing that as a result of the promise, Simeon spent his days living in anticipation of the moment he would see the world's Savior face to face.

When Joseph and Mary brought the child Jesus to the temple to carry out the rituals the law required for the birth of a son, the devoted Simeon was there. Taking the infant in his arms, Simeon praises God and in essence declares, "I need nothing more! I've see the Christ! O God, let me depart this life in peace!"

The promise that had driven him for so much of his life had been fulfilled. Whatever he had imagined this moment would be like, it could not begin to measure up to what he was blessed to experience. He was actually holding the Christ in his arms! What a scene it must have been that day in the temple as Mary and Joseph watched a completely contented man do the most meaningful thing he would ever do--celebrate Jesus.

In a world where satisfaction is hard to find and harder to keep, we are driven to the Christ who said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). Jesus offers a life of fullness and abundance, and Simeon was among the very first to experience it. At the heart of this response was a depth of satisfaction that can come only in experiencing the personal presence of the Christ. May our celebration of the Christ be defined by the unique contentment of the heart that comes from knowing Him.

Dear friend, may this Christmas find you with a contented heart and a hope for all that 2011 will bring. Merry Christmas!

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

Source: The Stories of Simeon and Anna