The Presence of Jesus Canvas
As I was preparing and asking the Lord what to paint to accompany this theme of the Presence of Jesus, I kept coming back to those who first knew about the significant gift which was about to enter the world. Of course Mary, Elizabeth, the Shepherds and the Magi, but there is one who seems to be overlooked in the imagery we often see of Christ’s birth….one who perhaps knew and had been waiting expectantly longer than all the rest: his name was Simeon.
In Luke we find out that, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” (Luke 2:26) We don’t know exactly when this was revealed to him, but it could be that he knew long before anyone else that the Messiah would come during his lifetime! Could it be that Simeon was like Abraham, a friend to whom God told the secrets of His coming? I think so! Luke tells us that day in and day out Simeon “was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” (Luke 2:25) So Simeon, a forerunner of our generation, was faithfully waiting and the Holy Spirit, who had not yet been given to all men, was on him as he waited for presence of God to be restored to Israel. Now this is significant, because the ark of the covenant, signifying the presence of God, had been absent from the temple since 586 BC, when the Babylonians destroyed the temple. Herod’s temple, where Simeon was waiting, had no ark of the covenant until Jesus came into the temple that day! God returned to the temple when Mary carried her baby into its courts! What a dramatic moment!
I was challenged as I read this description of Simeon, who despite living in Roman occupied Israel, had not given up hope that the promise he had been given would be fulfilled! Even into his old age, he had not wearied of watching for his Savior. In this same way, let us also take this same posture of continually seeking our consolation or parakletos, which in Greek means: advocate and comforter. Like Simeon, what so many of us are looking for during this busy and often bittersweet advent season is “consolation.” And He has not only come as a baby, but He is coming again and He has sent us “The Consoler” The Holy Spirit as a gift to us all! Will you join me and take the position of the Psalmist in Psalm 130:5-6
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits and in His word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”