“My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation”
Right after the familiar Christmas account in Luke, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to be presented in the Temple. There, they met a man named Simeon.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous 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.
And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32, ESV)
Simeon was faithfully waiting for the salvation God promised his people. That day, holding Jesus in his arms, he saw it. It speaks to Simeon’s faith that the incarnation of the Christ child was all he needed to see to be assured of God’s promise. He didn’t demand to see the child grow up first to be sure. He was ready to die in peace.
And yet, Simeon died still waiting for the fullness of God’s promise. The first coming of Jesus enacted God’s plan of salvation that will be finally and perfectly fulfilled in his second coming when he comes to establish his eternal kingdom. This week we worship with both comings in view.
This Sunday begins week 4 of Advent with the theme of Salvation. Sunday is also Christmas Eve, when we stop to reflect, like Simeon, on the immeasurable gift of the incarnation. We look forward with hope as we look back with joy. God’s promise in both directions. Jesus comes to us. Lord, give us eyes of faith like Simeon to see your salvation in Jesus Christ.