WATCHING AND PRAYING
At the time of Jesus every Jew worthy of the name believed the Jews were the chosen people of God. For the greater number of them this meant that someday the Jews would become masters of the world, rulers of all nations. They believed that would come about through some great champion who would descend upon the earth and lead them to their glorious destiny. Such was their concept of the coming Messiah. He would be a king like David and all the triumph and glory associated with David would be revived. Some believed God himself would break directly into history. In fact God did, but not in the way they expected.
There were others who shared the belief that the Jews were God’s chosen people but had no dreams of of a reincarnation of David and of conquering armies. They believed in a life of prayer and watchfulness until the Messiah would come. They waited patiently and quietly upon God.
There was a man like that, named Simeon. He was in the temple when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. (Luke 2: 22-38) In prayer and faithful expectation he was waiting for the day when God would comfort his people.
Luke tells us God had promised Simeon his life would not end before he had seen God’s anointed one. His prayer and faithfulness were rewarded and he recognized in baby Jesus, the Messiah.
There was a second faithful and prayerful person, named Anna, who came on the scene at the moment of Jesus’s presentation. She thanked God and gave witness about the child, proclaiming Jesus as the hope of all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. Both Simeon and Anna had the gift of prophecy and were given an insight into the future roles of Jesus and Mary.
There is an important lesson we can learn from Simeon and Anna. It is that we should be faithful and prayerful, looking for Jesus coming into our lives. Doing that is an on-going challenge because Jesus comes into our lives not just once, but many times. In fact, Jesus continuously tries to come more fully into our lives. Sometimes he does so in ways that are difficult to recognize. He can seem to be a master of disguise. We need always to be watchful and prayerful and open to his coming.