One word can bring so much to mind – family, snow, gifts, warmth, lights, joy, Jesus, carols, home, treats, love – the list is endless and often differs with each of us. I love the story of Jesus birth, the nativity scenes. Cleaning some boxes in the basement recently, I found the old nativity set we had when I was a child. I found it very interesting that there were five wise men in the set. Way ahead of their time, weren’t they?
One thing has always puzzled me about the Christmas story. Why didn’t the people realize their Messiah was there? Of course, I’m looking at it from the big picture, knowing the prophecies of the Old Testament and they were living it, but they knew the prophecies. How did they not connect the dots?
How do I know they knew?
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”
Strange. Herod went to the chief priests and scribes to find out where the Messiah was to be born. They answered “Bethlehem.” And that was the end? No curiosity? No wonder? No desire to even go see what might exactly be happening? No watching for the Messiah? No excitement? They just went home to dinner with the wife and kids like nothing happened? No discussion about the kings from the East?
Were they too satisfied with life as they knew it? Did they fear the Messiah? Did they think it a myth? Had they given up? Why does that verse end so abruptly? How did they not go and see if the Messiah truly had been born in Bethlehem?
In contrast to the chief priests and scribes, “there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God . . .”
One man waiting, watching because He not only knew the prophecies – He knew God. He knew that God is faithful and will fulfill His promises. He was content to wait but never stopped watching.
How often I become too satisfied with my life here and turn my heart away from God. Too often I forget the urgency to share the love of Christ with others. Too quickly I forget the thrill of watching for His return, of reading His Word, of meditating on Him.
Oh, to be like Simeon was – waiting, watching, and faithful.