Title: Great Expectations

Text: Luke 2:25b-26 ~ “There was a 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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”

Scripture Reading:  Luke 2:25-38

Reflection:  Christmas is usually a time of expectations: wrapped gifts waiting to be revealed; delectable dishes waiting to be tasted, and even new family and friends waiting to gather together. Waiting is inevitable as we look forward to the time, treats, and togetherness. The knowledge that the invitation has been received or the event has been planned, and that you are invited to attend is enough to garner anticipation. We wait in anticipation knowing something special is going to occur. For some of us, it might even be a time of anxious waiting knowing new tensions or tempers may emerge. Regardless, there is waiting in expectation, along with not knowing how the days or events will unfold.

Both Anna and Simeon were in the winter years of their lives – eagerly and faithfully waiting and anticipating the coming of Jesus, the Promised Messiah. Their waiting was marked by devotion, prayer, living in right relationship to God, fasting, and a lifestyle of worship. The beauty of this long-awaited encounter was that both of them immediately recognized Jesus. They were guided by the Holy Spirit to praise and thank God because the Person of the promise had finally come!  Luke records Jesus’ coming as being the embodiment of Great Expectations for all people, Jesus came to be the consolation of Israel. God had prepared Jesus to be the agent of salvation for all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, for the glory of Israel as a people, and the redemption of Jerusalem.  In addition to these positive Great Expectations of Jesus’ coming, Simeon prophesied to Mary that the coming of Jesus would cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, revealing the thoughts of many people. Hard as it is to fathom, Jesus’ coming would result in his own mother’s soul being pierced. This referred to His crucifixion. Anna and Simeon waited expectantly and they encountered the Deliverer, the Consoler, the Redeemer, and the Savior.

Response: Like Anna and Simeon, do you want to wait on Jesus this Christmas season – worshipping Him, reading Scripture, praying, seeking to know Him deeper that you may also recognize when He is speaking to you?  Pray and ask Him to reveal His truth to you as God did to Anna and Simeon. Are you looking forward to encountering Jesus this Christmas?

Prayer: Dear Father, please help me to wait on You. As I prepare for Christmas, turn my heart towards you, and open my eyes that I may recognize your presence and guidance in my life. May this season of Christmas renew my trust in You and my desire to know you as Simeon and Anna did. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Written by Irene Prabhu Das, MPH, PhD