The following is a combination of borrowed material from the Village Church’s Advent Guide for 2011, An Advent Devotional from Christ the King Presbyterian Church and notes from Noel Piper’s blog. You can also find great readings for the season in Nancy Guthrie’s book “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. Posted Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version. We hope you’ll use it to lead your family and anyone else who is around your brunch or dinner table in actively waiting.
SIMEON’S WAIT (Luke 2:25-35)
Read Luke 2:25-35 together. You can divide up the verses among the readers at the table or pick a narrator to tackle it:
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
33And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed
35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Simeon was an obscure character, who vanished pretty much as soon as he was introduced. He was only known by his righteousness, devotion and apparent long-suffering for Israel’s consolation. Imagine him as a gray-bearded saint – a John the Baptist type – full of the Spirit, groaning continually in the temple, waiting for a Messiah.
He certainly wasn’t alone in his waiting. Countless others – the people of God from old – shared his anxious anticipation, and we too can sympathize. Take a couple of minutes to talk about a time when you were offered something really good, but you had to wait a long time for it. How did you feel? What was uncomfortable or difficult about the wait?
The prophets – people who delivered God’s messages to God’s people in the Old Testament – had been telling the people for years that God was going to send a rescuer who could deliver them from all of their struggles and the wickedness of the world they lived in. Hoping for this, Israel lived on the edge of their seats. Here’s what one of the prophets Malachi 4:1-3 prophesied:
For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
This is what Israel needed – so they waited.
HYMNS TO SING TOGETHER