For my money, Simeon (Luke 2:21-35) is one of the more interesting characters in the Christmas pageant. However, if you blink, you will miss him as he only makes a cameo appearance in the drama.
By all appearances, Simeon was a godly senior citizen (25). Tradition says he was 113 years old, though Scripture does not give us his age. What it does say is he felt he could die in peace after seeing Jesus (29).
What strikes me about Simeon is that he spent his entire life waiting for Christmas. In the process, he discovered that God’s Christmas gift satisfies the deepest longing of our heart.
Simeon encountered Jesus when his parents brought him to the temple to be dedicated (22-24). According to the Law, the event occurred 40 days after Jesus was born, or when he was almost six weeks old.
Though we don’t know how or when, Simeon received advance knowledge that he would live to see the day when the Messiah appeared (26). Waiting with confidence, I’m sure he asked the Father often, “Is this the one?” as he saw parents come into the temple to dedicate their children. Something stirred in his spirit when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus (27-28).
Like a child on Christmas morning, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and exclaimed, “It’s what I’ve always wanted!” He recognized the significance of the little baby. Not only was he God’s instrument of salvation (30), but he would bring salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike (31-32). This child would bring people to a point of decision (34) and reveal the hidden secrets of each one’s heart (35)
Through his actions, Simeon provides an excellent example of how to celebrate Christmas. We should (1) be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit in order to see where God is at work; (2) take God at his word and believe his promises; (3) receive God’s gift with joy; (4) be a blessing to others.