I have two children. I have twelve nephews and nieces. I pastor at a church where a third of our congregation is under the age of twelve. Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time around babies. I have to admit: newborns often need to grow into their cuteness, and I have never been tempted to call an infant glorious or to cry out in praise when I hold them. So when I read the account of Simeon in Luke 2, it struck me.
It’s so easy to be over-familiarized with the story of baby Jesus and be used to His lordship. We casually call him the “Son of God” and miss that He is the SON OF GOD, who came to earth as a human infant to be the Savior of the world. But Simeon didn’t miss it. For him it was the fulfillment of a long anticipation. When he met eight-day-old Jesus in the court of the temple, he cried out “my eyes have seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples—a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:30–32).
We are accustomed to worshiping Jesus at Christmas and are familiar with the story of His incarnation. And Simeon’s time was a dark one, a time of waiting hundreds of years since the last recorded prophets’ promise of a coming Messiah. But he still waited in faith, trusting that God would send His glorious salvation to His people. And in the form of this newborn baby, it came to pass. Simeon could finally say to God, “dismiss your servant in peace” (Luke 2:29). His yearning was fulfilled in Christ because, finally, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isaiah 9:2).
What Simeon saw in the glory and power encased in that tiny human form was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s ancient prophecy about the salvation of Israel and the world: “I will also make you a light for the nations, to be my salvation to the ends of the earth….Shout for joy, you heavens! Earth, rejoice! Mountains break into joyful shouts! For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted ones” (Isaiah 49:6,13). In fact, Simeon was part of the fulfillment as he shouted for joy and rejoiced in Jesus.
We, too, await the coming of the Messiah, His return. In Simeon we see how to trust. And in these words of Scripture, we have assurance that just as Christ came as a light to Israel and the nations He will return to make all things new. Our yearning and waiting are fulfilled in the glorious one, too.