When I was a kid, we had a tradition of opening certain presents on Christmas Eve night. My brother and I loved the idea, of course, because Christmas Eve seems so much closer than Christmas morning when you are a child. Waiting can be hard! The presents look so pretty under the tree, and you can’t help but wonder if maybe it’s that thing you really want … or perhaps it’s just a package of socks … but either way, the anticipation is mounting and you can’t wait to rip open the box!
Waiting is difficult in a lot of ways. I remember being 12 and thinking that it was the longest year on record; it seemed to take forrrevvvver to turn 13. I remember the few days between final exams and graduation, when the hard work is finally over and anticipation peaks. I remember being in the last few weeks and days of pregnancy, when you can’t sleep and can’t see your feet … the waiting is exhausting.
The Gospel of Luke tells us about a man who had waiting down to a science. In Ch. 2, Luke gives us a glimpse into the life of Simeon. We don’t know much about him, except that he was faithful to the Lord and was regarded as a good man. We assume that he was elderly, since he had received a promise from God that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah, but the Bible doesn’t say how old he was. One day, Simeon went to the temple in anticipation. He was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and he knew that his waiting time was over. He got to meet baby Jesus face to face and cuddle him in his arms. The promise that Simeon had lived for was coming true right before his eyes!
I wonder if Paul had someone like Simeon in mind when he wrote Colossians 2:6-7 (CEV), “You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” You and I may not have received a specific word from the Lord like Simeon did, but we do have something special, and that is hope. We have hope because of that little baby cradled in Simeon’s arms. We have a promise of eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus. That is something worth waiting for!