Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel. Luke 2:29-32
When asked who I’d like to be in the Christmas story, I originally had no ideas. However, when I read that we would use the familiar story and end with Simeon, the devout man God promised would see the Messiah in his lifetime and who spoke the words above on seeing Jesus, I knew immediately: I want to be Simeon.
As I was growing up, one of my favorite parts of the church service was singing Simeon’s song at the end. I loved that blessing—that after hearing God’s word, we are sent back into the world, but with God’s peace, reassured of His presence in our lives and in the world around us.
I would like to be Simeon because he was open to the Spirit’s leading. He was called to the synagogue, and he went. I want to be like Simeon and hear God’s call that clearly and follow where it leads.
Simeon recognized Jesus as the Messiah. This was no small feat. Baby Jesus and his parents were likely not the only people there. And this Messiah was a tiny baby—not some powerful man nor one with rhetoric to sway the crowds nor a handsome leader, just a baby, still completely dependent on his parents. Yet Simeon saw beyond those limitations and recognized God’s choice of this baby as the Messiah. I want to be like Simeon, seeing the workings of God in all things and rejoicing in them.
I want to be like Simeon because, after recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, Simeon’s rejoicing gave him a profound peace. Despite whatever misfortune he saw around him, he knew that God’s plan to save His people was at work. Admittedly, seeing God’s hand at work is difficult when we hear the news of the day. But it’s there, and we can have God’s peace, knowing that he loves us and is still at work in the world.
Prayer: Lord, give us the gifts of Simeon: the ability to hear and follow your calling, the discernment to see your hand at work in the world, and your peace in our hearts. Amen.
About the Contributor
Cesily King and her husband Tom have been members of First Presbyterian since 1976. She has worked with the kindergarten Sunday School classes for many years, and upon Beth Burris’s retirement, became Interim Director of Children’s Ministry.