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 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?