Hope is essential. It’s what carries us forward in dark times. It’s the ability to see beyond what is now, to what could be, to what will be. God was silent for 400 years before Jesus came, but some did not lose hope, including Simeon, a man who was “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). Waiting for what is to come requires hope.
Simeon: Faithful Tarrier
Simeon has always stuck out to me in the Christmas story. (His story can be found in Luke 2:21-35.) Simeon is not called a priest, minister, or prophet in the text, but simply a “righteous, devout” man. He didn’t have a formal religious title, he was simply someone who truly believed.
He was tarrying, awaiting the coming of the Messiah. It wasn’t a showy thing. Perhaps no one else knew about it. (Or perhaps he couldn’t help but share with everyone around him, depending on his personality, who knows?) Either way, he had true faith. And God had personally promised him he would live to see the One he was waiting upon.
He had the real thing.
Real faith. Real hope. Real intimacy with God. Real understanding of God’s heart. And because of all those things, He got to participate in what God did. His part may seem small. He simply blessed baby Jesus in the temple and rejoiced over him.
But I’m convinced that people like him are the real movers and shakers of history. They see clearly what is important and what isn’t. They move by God’s voice, not by anything else.
As we live in the midst of an ever-shifting society, in a time where governments are shaking and hate and fear are smeared all around, do we truly believe, as Simeon did? Do we take God at His word? Are we even aware of what we are waiting for?
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born . . .
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
– Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The Power of Hope
Hope doesn’t just bring warm feelings. It empowers action. Without hope, we become paralyzed or reckless. With it, we have strength to take hold of the promise before us, a promise others miss.
“My eyes have seen your salvation,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 2: 30-31 (Simeon speaking as he holds baby Jesus)
The promise is not just about us, but about something bigger. In our lifetimes we may not see the change we long for, but are we willing to play our small part to bring about good for the greater whole?