This is the third in a series of poems to prepare our hearts for Christmas. The fist one on Zechariah can be found here, the second on Mary is here, and the third on the Shepherds is here.
Simeon & Anna
Simeon was never clear about exactly how he knew,
But he’d never lied before, so everyone assumed it was true
That God had revealed to him in some miraculous way
That before he died he would be able to say
He had seen the Lord’s Christ – the one guaranteed
To restore Israel’s glory, a child from King David’s seed.
And while Simeon believed this clear word from the Lord,
He didn’t know the means that God would employ
To let him know who exactly was the one
That would make sin’s dark reign come undone.
As he waited for some moment of divine insight,
The years ticked by and he would continually fight
The questions that came about whether he had misunderstood
What God had made clear. Like a child in an overgrown wood,
He would get lost and wander aimlessly
Into a place of confusion and complacency,
Forgetting the promise made to his nation,
The hope of Israel’s great consolation.
But the Spirit would then call him out of that wilderness
And reignite in him an expectant eagerness –
An insatiable thirst and a hunger that would not cease,
As he continued to look for God’s giver of peace.
Filled with the Spirit, he came into the temple one morning
Where he was greeted by two parents proudly smiling,
Holding their baby, only eight days old,
Having arrived to do as they were told –
To complete the sacrifices and customs found in the Law.
It was at that moment, when old Simeon saw
The baby Jesus cradled in his mother’s embrace,
That a look of heavenly delight lit up his face.
He took the child in his arms, like he did with all the children
Brought to temple. But all knew this was different when
He began to bless God with a song:
“O Lord, I have waited so long
To know the truth of the word you had sent,
And now, you are releasing your servant
To depart in peace, for my eyes have now seen,
This gift that for generations you have been
Preparing to send! Now I hold your salvation,
To the gentile he will be a light of revelation,
And to your people trapped in slavery
He has come to be their true glory.”
Mary and Joseph stood motionless and marveled at all Simeon said.
Despite angelic visions and shepherds kneeling by his bed,
That moment in the temple still took them by surprise.
Then Simeon blessed the couple, and looking in Mary’s eyes,
He solemnly and clearly proclaimed,
“Behold, your son has been ordained
As the cause for many in Israel to fall and to rise.
He will be a sign opposed, by men and women despised.
And you will not be immune from these things I foretell –
Mary, a sword will pierce your soul as well.
Your son comes to we who try so hard our hearts to conceal,
But the thoughts of everyone this boy will reveal.”
Silence followed all that Simeon said was in store,
Until the sound of a cane striking the floor
Slowly came closer to the priest and this family,
Who eventually turned around to then see
A prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of Asher’s tribe,
Who had been a widow the majority of her eighty-four years of life.
She spent her days in the temple, having made it her mission
To fill her remaining years with worship, fasting, and deep intercession.
As she came up to them, she began to express her thankfulness
To God, for the way he now had chosen to bless
All those who were waiting to be redeemed
And for whom this day had been just a dream.
Even more than Simeon and Anna, we can now see
That Jesus has come to redeem you and me.
That he is the one for whom all people have waited,
Though he is found to be both loved and hated –
For he brings a sword of division into the hearts of all men,
Revealing how badly our hearts have been bent
By the storm of sin that threatens to kill
All who refuse to let Jesus work his good will.
Yet when we turn in faith and from sin we repent,
We see that Jesus is God’s salvation sent
To fulfill the law we cannot keep, not matter how hard we try,
To take on our sin, and for us to willingly die.
Now like Simeon we wait for our Savior to come
To break through the clouds and gather us home.
He said he will return, and we believe him in spite
Of the doubts that come in the darkness of night.
He will come again, though not as a quiet baby.
Rather as a warrior of light that the whole earth will see
And from the great to the small, every knee will bow,
Every tongue will confess to the truth of how
Good and righteous, how gracious and just,
God is to send his Son to people of dust.
None will question his rule, as his kingdom descends
And death and sin finally come to an end.
And for those found in Christ, forever we’ll sing
The song of redemption at the feet of our King.