“When eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him…” John 1:10-11
Jesus is here! Surely Mary and Joseph’s life would return to “normal.” Not so! There were laws to fulfill (Matthew 5:17), angry political leaders to reckon with (Isaiah 9:7), and a whole world to share the Good News with—their Savior is here (Luke 2:11). The Father of unfailing love continues to make the way for the reality of His Son – through another heart loyal to Yahweh.
Joseph and Mary were at the temple presenting baby Jesus to the Lord and offering a sacrifice according to the law (Luke 2:22-23). While fulfilling their duty, a man entered the temple at just the right time. “And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking 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 [Messiah]. And he came in the Spirit into the temple…” (Luke 2:25-27, emphasis added).
Simeon was more than “religious” in believing there was a God. Simeon was a man of God’s Word; he knew the Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 9, 43, 49). His whole life was centered on God’s promise, giving him inner hunger for one desire—to see the Messiah, the hope, the comfort, the salvation of the World. He worshipped, he waited, he looked, and he listened for the “presence of promise” to be revealed! He had come! Oh, the indescribable joy and emotion Simeon was privileged to know as he held that divinely born human baby boy in his arms (Luke 2:28). He blessed God, blessed Jesus, and affirmed His parents with the truth of Old Testament prophecy of what is and what is to come (Luke 2:34-35).
The Greek Dictionary reveals that “consolation” derives its meaning from the Greek word paraklesis—comfort—the very same term from which the present Holy Spirit receives His title: The Paraklete, the Comforter. Did Simeon realize the very one he was looking for was already “overshadowing” his life, comforting, feeding, leading and keeping him for this very moment?
Oh the beautiful, mysterious, eloquent, and powerful truth of God’s Word. Through one loyal human life, hungering for the fulfillment of Yahweh’s Word, we see the first written account of mankind’s capability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to understand His purpose and delight in the presence of baby Jesus. God’s gift of Grace at Christmas is this: the Comforter has come—in flesh! Multitudes did not recognize him, the religious ignored him, “but, as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…” (John 1:10-12).
Simeon’s response? “Now Lord, You are releasing your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke2 32, emphasis added). His comfort was complete –he knew Jesus!
Good news: Christmas continues! Is my life centered in the comforter? Oh, what God will do for the hungry heart of humanity.