Luke 2: 25-38


Now 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 on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.


In one sense the whole of Advent is about practising waiting, so it’s either unfair to have made you wait until Christmas Eve, or you’re so well practised you’ve not noticed!

In one sense you can do nothing about practising waiting, because the time to fulfilment is often out of our hands, but there’s waiting and there’s waiting.

I’m ok at waiting for a clear and definite outcome, when it’s not too long to wait.

I’m dreadful at waiting for pretty much anything else, whether that be the final whistle when we’re winning, or my coffee at the end of the counter. It’s no excuse, but the increasing computer speeds appear to be matched by my increasing impatience … as does that of many people awaiting an e-mail reply from me!

That’s why I think it’s only fair to bring Simeon and Anna back on stage … after the fulfilment of their big wait. I think they must both have had great parents who affirmed and celebrated their ability to wait patiently. It was a long, long wait, but let’s note what practising waiting on God did for them. Then, just maybe, we can draw on some more motivation to wait, patiently for whatever God is leading us to pray and lean into:

  • Righteousness grows as the roots of dependency upon God deepen (25)
  • Devotion develops in consistency the longer our hope in its’ fulfilment remains fixed (25)
  • Waiting is only worth developing for worthwhile outcomes (25)
  • The Holy Spirit rests on those who wait on Him (25)
  • Hope grows God will do it (26)
  • Hope for tomorrow makes for peace for today (26)
  • Looking for fulfilment maintains an openness ‘today is the day of salvation’ (27)
  • Waiting on God develops our eyes of faith and the recognition of God’s activity before our physical eyes (28)
  • The fulfilment of our waiting is quick to acknowledge the sovereignty of God (29). Let God be God.
  • Waiting for what we cannot see can reveal the significance when it does come to light (30-32)
  • Waiting on God and a life of worship may look the same (37)
  • Waiting on God may appear to be doing nothing, but develops discipline, patience, hope and deep relationship (37)
Prayer: Dear Lord. Help me focus my eyes upon you and your future yet to be fulfilled. May your kingdom come, on earth as in heaven and meet me in my waiting, so your purposes in my life may also be fulfilled, in your time and for your glory.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Association. He facilitates the life of the WEBA network team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.