In this last week of Advent, one of the ways we learn to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the arrival of our Savior is to see how others have done so. In Luke 2:25-32 we meet Simeon as he meets Jesus. But before the Messiah is revealed, Simeon is a man-in-waiting. He has waited a very long time to see the coming of the Savior of Israel, for God to keep his promises, for hope to be fulfilled.

Notice that Simeon doesn't just pass time as he waits (like we do at the airport), but he "eagerly" waits for God to send the One. There is an anticipation, an expectation. It is the kind of waiting that the groom does for his wedding day or a mother does for the birth of her child. It is a waiting that is filled with wanting.

Notice also that he doesn't sit idly while he waits (like we do at the doctor's office). Apparently he has been busy seeking and obeying God, for we are told he was "devout" and "righteous." In the waiting God has been working on Simeon, making his heart pure so he could see God, making his hands holy so he could hold the holy one. It is a waiting that makes ready.

Even as Simeon waited, God was beginning to answer. First, with the presence of the Holy Spirit, who "was upon him." Then, with the promise that he would see the Messiah before he died. Finally, with the prompting to be at the right place at the right time, God put the answer to Simeon's prayers in his arms.

Simeon was filled with exceedingly great joy. Oh the wonder of it all! The eyes of Jesus met the eyes of Simeon and in that instant "the hopes and fears of all the years" were realized. The secret of salvation was already running through the veins of this newborn boy. The tiny heart was beating with the love of the Father. The waiting was over.

On what do I wait? How do I wait? What do I do in the waiting? Is the Holy Spirit upon me so I can hear God's promise to me regarding my hope? When the answer comes, am I where I will find it? Will I recognize the answer when it arrives? And will I, like Simeon, take this gracious answer in my arms and lift it up in praise to God?

Carol Dowsett is a career missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators and a professional communications consultant, having worked for nearly 25 years in global communication leadership roles. She has served with agencies such as Wycliffe International, SIL International, Forum of Bible Agencies International, Bible League International, Christar, and the Well Community. She is a frequent teacher of Reflective Bible Studies and has been a lay leader of women's discipleship and prayer ministries in various churches. An advocate to the Church for mental health awareness, she has served as a support group leader with Mental Health Grace Alliance. With her family, she lived in Nairobi, Kenya for three years and now makes her home near Dallas, Texas. Married for 45 years, she and Jim have four adult children and six grandchildren.