top of page
  • Writer's pictureOlivia Dear Thames

Advent: December 21

Simeon likely isn’t a character that comes to mind when you think about Advent. Mary, yes. Joseph, of course. The angels and shepherds and wise men, sure—but probably not Simeon.

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 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.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:22–35

This passage is Simeon’s only mention in the entire Bible. He is not the focus of the narrative. He doesn’t get extensive coverage like David or Abraham.

What makes this character stick out and fit right into the story of Advent is that he was waiting. Simeon was longing for the rescue of a Savior. He was anxious for earth to receive her King. And maybe part of this is because he had been told that he would live to see the consolation of Israel.

Into the temple walk the teenage parents, Mary and Joseph, to dedicate their newborn son to God. The typical offering for this ceremony would have been a lamb. However, these two of little means bring turtledoves instead. No lamb to offer—just the lamb of God.

When Simeon sees Jesus in the temple and then holds the newborn King in his arms, he is filled with hope. Simeon is captivated by Jesus. He doesn’t just proclaim how this infant fulfills past prophecies; he also points to the cross and the sacrifice ahead for this baby.

With Jesus in his arms, Simeon is at peace. He is holding a visible sign of hope that can only come from God. He’s staring at fulfillment. He is cradling the goodness of God.

It’s hard to imagine what this experience was like. We can’t relate to this encounter. Or can we?

We cannot look into the newborn King’s eyes like Simeon could, but we can look to Him for hope. We can’t watch as Jesus is dedicated in the temple, but we can dedicate ourselves to Him. We can’t carry the 6-weekish-old Son of God, but we do carry our own stories and testimonies of His faithfulness.

Like Simeon, we can give glory to the newborn King. As we wait to see Him face to face, we can study stories of old and share stories of today about a God so gracious that He gave us His only son. We cannot hold newborn Jesus like Simeon could, but we can come and behold Him.

O come, let us adore Him today. This season is ornamented with reminders of a God so good and a hope so needed. And as we long for Jesus's second coming, like Simeon and so many others have, we can find a thrill of hope that only Christ could bring.

bottom of page