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Waiting In Hope

Luke 2:25-38 (NLT)
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
     as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
     which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
     and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

There are few stories that give such a compelling view of what it looks like to hope for the Mighty God to enter the world than that story of Simeon and Anna. It is often an overlooked story and you can totally miss it in the excitement of the birth story of Jesus, with the angels and the shepherds and magi. There was a lot going on but the stories of Simeon and Anna are not to be overlooked.

Simeon was a devout Jew and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah for a long, long time. Simeon is an old man who believed what the Holy Spirit told him was true, that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. And he did. Not only did Simeon see Jesus but he held him in his arms. He held the Mighty God as a tiny baby in his arms and couldn’t help but praise God. Simeon knewwho Jesus was. He knew Jesus was Mighty God and Savior and praised God for that.

Now Anna is also an old woman who had been living without her husband for a long time, decades. A single woman was not a good place to be during this time. She stayed at the temple say and night, praying and fasting. She too encountered Jesus, Mary and Joseph as Simeon was holding baby Jesus and she knew. She knew He was the one she had been waiting and fasting and praying for. She began praising God and wouldn’t stop telling everyone about who Jesus was.

I wonder how many times Simeon and Anna lost hope. That after maybe a year or two, or maybe five years, that they would give up. Lose hope and second guess if what they heard was really from the Lord. They waited decades for the Messiah to show up. Have you ever had to wait for something for longer than you would have liked? What has that waiting done to your hope? How can we still carry hope when God’s timing is different than our own timing and we start to believe that it isn’t going to happen?

Lectio Divina Practice
As you walk through the Lectio Divina today, read the scripture above and meditate on it, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal himself to you.

  1. Silencio: Come into God’s presence. Quietly prepare your heart to meet with and hear from Him.  Slow down, relax, release the noisy thoughts that crowd your mind over to him.

  2. Lectio: Read the scripture above slowly and out loud, let words resonate with you. Be aware of words that stick out to you. When a word or phrase grabs your attention, stop reading. Sit with it. Open your hearts to what God is saying to you. Underline the phrase, make notes of what you’re hearing. Don’t analyze it or judge it. Listen and wait.

  3. Meditatio: Meditate. Read the Scripture a second time out loud. Savor the words. Listen for any invitation that God is extending to you in this word. Reflect on the importance of the words that light up to you.

  4. Oratio: Respond, pray. Read the Scripture a third time. Now is the moment to enter into a personal conversation with God. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The important thing is to respond truthfully and authentically. What feelings has the text brought about in you? Talk about where you are feeling resistant or want to push back, and of where you feel invited into a deeper way of being with God.

  5. Contemplatio: Contemplate, rest and wait in the presence of God. Allow some time for the word to sink deeply into your soul. Yield and surrender yourself to God. Before you leave, you might consider a reminder that can help you dwell on this word throughout the day.

 

Family Moments
Read Luke 2:25-38 together. Talk about times when you have waited for something to happen, for someone to arrive, for a gift to be given. What did that feel like? Was it difficult to wait? Was there anticipation? When the thing finally happened, how did that feel? Simeon and Anna waited and hoped for a long time for Jesus to arrive. When He did, they were overwhelmed with joy. God is faithful to keep His promises, sometimes we have to wait, but hope sustains us while we wait.