By Michael Winkelman
Today we begin the season of Advent. Advent is defined as coming into place, view, or being; an arrival. The Church during this time commemorates the coming of Christ into the world, the celebration of Christmas. Although Advent precedes the celebration of Christ’s birth, the emphasis is not just on the Christ child and His birth, but on Christ and everything He is. We celebrate Christmas because it is the great coming of the Messiah and the beginning of what He inevitably does for us upon the cross.
This Advent season, let us celebrate not just the birth of our Christ, but ultimately who that Babe in the manger becomes and who He is to us. Let us take the opportunity to grow spiritually and deepen our personal relationships with our Lord, by glimpsing into the lives of people within the Bible and seeing who Jesus may have been to them. May the inner reflection that occurs during Advent and the celebration of Christmas deepen our resolve to surrender all and follow Jesus Christ.
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Luke 2:25-26, New King James Version)
Simeon wasn’t getting any younger. With the day’s new dawn, his bones creaked a little more, his muscles were tighter than yesterday, and another gray hair was added to his beard. Simeon slowly turned out of his bed and took a long deep breath as he stretched his back. He walked to the window of his bedroom and looked to the east. The sun’s rays reflected brightly against the morning clouds, a magnificent array of pink and orange lit up the morning sky. Simeon uttered a deep heartfelt sigh, “The Lord is good.” The morning sky reminded him of the most glorious of days, when the Spirit of the Lord spoke clearly to him. Simeon could remember the divine warmth and peace of the Spirit’s voice, prophesying and declaring to Simeon that before his death he would witness the Lord’s Christ.
With each day Simeon awoke and remembered the Lord’s promise, and he hoped, and he hoped, and he hoped, awaiting the fulfillment of God’ promise to him. As days turned into months, and months into years, Simeon’s daily hope at times waned. His old flesh tempted him with disheartening thoughts, the Lord breaking His promise and denying Simeon the blessing of witnessing the prophesied Messiah. And though in that moment Simeon believed without a shadow of a doubt that the voice that spoke to him was indeed the Lord’s, time slowly eroded the glory of the experience and caused him to at times doubt. His friends and family did not help him, calling it a fool’s hope. “A fool’s hope?” Simeon smiled and thought to himself, “If hoping in the Lord is a fool’s hope, then I will gladly wear the label of a fool.” With Simeon’s declaration of faith he suddenly felt a rush of warmth overtake him. He smiled wide as he remembered that glorious presence of the Spirit.
Though his bones creaked and cracked, Simeon moved with great haste as the Spirit gave him the strength to enter into the temple. Inside the Lord’s house was a young couple holding a male babe, and Simeon felt an immense sense of joy as he saw the light of God in the face of that young child. Simeon walked over to the couple and gently placed the baby in his arms. Simeon looked into the face of that young vulnerable babe, and marveled as he also witnessed the full might and power of his Creator. Simeon was overwhelmed with the spontaneous desire to worship and he declared:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word: For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
The parents of the Christ child marveled at Simeon’s declaration, and according to the guidance of the Spirit, Simeon continued to speak to the child’s mother, preparing her for what lay ahead. Simeon left the temple in utter awe of the Lord, and he joyfully meditated on this great truth: The Lord is faithful, and He fulfills His promises. For Simeon, Christ was hope, the Lord Jesus Christ is our hope.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
About the Author:
Michael Winkelman is former US Army Airborne and a current Law Enforcement Officer. Mikey works as a Patrol Sergeant, SWAT Team Leader, and Firearms Instructor. Mikey is also the author of Sing Your Warsong, Christian! A beautiful and powerful devotional written for a fellow brother-in-arms. We highly suggest you snag a copy!