Saturday, December 03, 2011

Stories for Christmas: Simeon

I must tell you this story before I die, for I have lived a very long time and it will not be long before I am gone.

Not long ago, the Lord spoke to me while I was worshiping in the temple...

Wait, let me go back a bit and start at the beginning. I live in Jerusalem and have all of my life. My father was a merchant and taught the business to me so that I could take it over when he was old and needed to be cared for. He also taught me to love the Lord and every week he took me with him to the Temple to worship. My faith grew as I did and I have seen God’s hand of blessing on me and my family. In time, I married and had children of my own. I too taught my own son to be a merchant and to worship the Lord. In time he took over the business and now cares for me in the same way I cared for my father.

Now that I am old, I spend most of my day here at the Temple. I come here right after breakfast and only leave when it is time to return home for the evening meal. My daughter-in-law is a good woman and cares for me as she would her own father. She always prepares a mid-day meal for me to take since she doesn’t approve of the food that can be purchased at the Temple gates.

One day, not long after I retired from the business world and began spending my time at the Temple, God spoke to me. I was seated against a column deep in prayer when I heard him as clearly as if he was seated next to me. I know it was him because it was early in the morning when there are only a few of us in the Temple that early and no one else was close. It could only have been the Lord.

Following the example of the prophet Samuel I said, “Speak, I am listening.” The Lord spoke to me again saying that I would not die until I had seen the Messiah. I was overwhelmed with amazement and relief. My father had fervently prayed that the prophesies would be fulfilled and that the promised Messiah would come. He understood that the Messiah was not for the military freedom of our people, but for the spiritual freedom of the world. He studied the scriptures that were recorded by the prophets about the Messiah and his coming and he passed that passion on to me. So when the Lord told me that the Messiah would come and that I would see him before I died, I was so overwhelmed with joy that I could not speak, only weep and pray for the remainder of the day.

We, as the nation of Israel, have longed for our Messiah for so long that many no longer believe. This was so with my daughter-in-law. When I went home that evening, I told my son and his family what God had told me, but they were skeptical. They were respectful as I spoke, but I could see in their faces that they did not quite believe me. On another morning when my daughter-in-law thought I had already left for the Temple, I heard her confide in a friend that she believed that I was beginning to show signs of senility because I believed that the Lord had spoken to me. However, from then on, I made sure that I was at the Temple early and I watched the young families as they came there for the circumcision and naming of their sons.

The day they arrived God’s Holy Spirit sent me to the Temple even earlier than usual and drew me to a young, poor couple, with their small son. The young man was carrying their offering of pigeons and the woman followed him close behind, holding the child close to her heart.

I walked to them and greeted them with respect. I think they were taken aback that a man like myself, dressed in the robes of a merchant would greet them, a poor couple, with such respect. When I asked the young woman if I could hold her son, she gently gave the child to my arms, still regarding me with wonder.

As I held that small body, I knew for certain that he was the Messiah. I prayed at that moment, looking in the child’s eyes saying, “Lord, I can now be at peace! You kept your promise and I have now seen the Savior. He will show God to the nations, and is the glory of your people Israel”

As I was praying, I could see his parents looking at each other in amazement. I imagine God had told them who their child was and they were wondering how I could know. I handed that little boy back to his mother, then I placed my hands on their heads and blessed them and told them that this child would fulfill the prophesies, be rejected by many in our nation, and that it would be their undoing. That the deepest thoughts of our hearts would be revealed and that her heart would be pierced with such great pain it would cut like a sword.

After I had blessed them, I realized that a woman named Anna had come to stand behind me. She was another person, like myself, who spent a great deal of time in the Temple. I often wondered if she ever left since several times I saw one of her grandchildren bringing food to her. When I finished my blessing, she too knew who the child was. She continued on by going to everyone who came into the Temple, that the Messiah had been born. Sadly, most looked at her with scorn. Just like my daughter-in-law, they had waited so long that they no longer believed.

When I went home that evening, I told everyone of what God had shown me that day. I don’t think that my daughter-in-law believed, but my son did. After the evening meal, as we sat on the roof watching the light of the sun fade away, we talked of it and of what might come.

Now it is up to him to look for the Messiah and what God’s plan for Israel is. For the child must grow to adulthood before he will accomplish the salvation of the world. I will be gone, but my son will be here along with his son to see the prophesies fulfilled.

I praise God, for he comes to take away the sins of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment