Shopping for Christmas presents is a high-pressure challenge. You search for the perfect gift. The one you hope will be met with “It’s what I’ve always wanted!” Instead, your child would rather play with the box than the gift. Your teens are nonplussed by your gift choice and respond with, “meh, you shouldn’t have.” Your spouse can hardly wait for December 26 to return it for a different color, size, or …
In my opinion, 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, but Scripture does not give us his age. What it does say is that he felt he could die in peace after seeing the baby Jesus (29).
What impresses me about Simeon is that he spent his entire life longing for Christmas. His expectations were more than met because he discovered that God’s Christmas gift satisfies the deepest longings of our heart.
Simeon encountered Jesus when his parents brought him to the temple to be dedicated (22-24). According to the Old Testament 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 confident expectation, 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).
What are hoping to receive this year for Christmas? Are you looking for something that truly satisfies? Do you need a sense of direction or purpose? Are you hoping to find security? Do you long to belong? Do you want a sense of hope for the future? Are you searching for a sense of certainty? Do you long for a sense of significance?
If you turn to Jesus, you can realize what Simeon discovered—God’s best gift satisfies the deepest longings of our heart.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on December 4, 2016. It is part of a collection of messages on Christmas. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.