Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. (Luke 2:25)
What do we really know about Simeon? Not much, I'm afraid. We know that he "was righteous and devout," and that the Holy Spirit was upon him. We know that he was waiting for the Messiah. But was he a priest or an ordinary man? Was he married? Did he have children? We don't know. We don't even know for sure if he was old or young. We assume he was old because of the promise about him not dying until he saw Christ—but we can't be sure, because the Bible doesn't tell us.
Simeon is another in the list of people God describes almost entirely by character. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph himself—Anna, the old woman who welcomed Jesus at the temple at the same time Simeon did—who were these people? All we really know is that they were believers. They were faithful—people who loved God—people who were waiting for Jesus to come. The rest of their biographies doesn't really matter. God mentions the important stuff.
And this gives us a good idea of what God is looking for in our own lives, too. He isn't much interested in whether we're rich or powerful, whether we have no children or many children, whether we are well-known or pretty much unknown. God looks at the heart. What is our relationship to Jesus? That makes all the difference in the world.
The good news for us is that the Holy Spirit—the same Holy Spirit who was upon Simeon—is willing and happy to work in our hearts as well. We don't have to turn ourselves into saints in order to please God. Jesus has already taken care of that through His death and resurrection. Now the Holy Spirit works in us every day. He will give us trust in Jesus. He will make us people who love and rejoice in our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, work in my heart and make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.
* Describe a person you know well. What words leap to mind?
* Do you know any quiet, hidden saints like Simeon? Describe one.
* How do you think God would describe you, and why? (Keep in mind that He has forgiven and adopted you!)
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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