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Simeon’s song

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Simeon’s song

Simeon was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord.  Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

“Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.”           (Luke 2: 25-32)

What was it about Simeon?  Yes, he was upright and devout but so, I’m sure, were many others.  Why did the Lord single out Simeon and give him that certain promise?

I wonder how Simeon would have answered that question?  A lesser person might have claimed that such a promise was a reward for being good.  I’m sure that Simeon, however, would have seen beyond himself to the One who gave him the promise: ‘I do not know why the Lord has made me this promise;’ he might have said, ‘I do not pretend to know his thoughts.  I do know that I am not worthy of such a great gift but in humility I accept it from him and wait in hope for its fulfilment.’

A lesser person might have kept the promise to himself and, upon seeing the Christ child in the Temple might simply have thought, silently, ‘the Lord promised that I’d see Christ before I die and now here he is.  Wow.  He must love me much more than these others because they don’t notice anything special about him at all’.

… but not Simeon.  Simeon, ‘an upright and devout man’, began there and then to praise God, letting the Light begin to give glory to Israel by enabling many others to recognise Christ the Lord in this tiny child, who until that moment was presumably was not attracting second glances from the others in the Temple.  Although the promise had been made only to Simeon, its fulfilment affected many others and brought glory to God.

Christ our Light lives on in you and me.  The choices we make every day can either ensure that it is kept hidden, with only just enough fuel to keep alight, or ensure that we show Christ’s salvation to the nations in a blazing fire of charity.

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