During Advent, we remember the first coming of Christ while we are faithfully waiting for the second coming of Christ. In chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, we read about two living examples of faithful waiting – Simeon and Anna.
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.[a] She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Luke 2:25-38
In Luke 2:25-38, Simeon and Anna were eagerly waiting to see Israel’s Messiah. Their eager waiting was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Simeon was righteous and devout as he lived his life for God. He waited for the promise given by the Holy Spirit that he would one day see the Messiah. His relationship with God, and his faith that God would keep his promise kept his hope alive all those years until finally he saw it with his own eyes.
Anna lost her husband after only 7 years of marriage. She probably could have remarried, but she didn’t. She spent the rest of her life praying and worshipping at the temple. She pursued God with a fierce dedication. As soon as she saw the child, she knew the promised Messiah had come. She told everyone who had been expectantly waiting for the Messiah about the child as she declared this hope. Surely, God had kept his promise.
Simeon walked so closely with God that he was promised to see the Messiah. Anna walked so closely with God that when she recognized the Messiah, she told everyone about him so they could have hope too. They had waited all their long lives to see God’s promise fulfilled- salvation. In the end, It was their faith in God’s promise that sustained them during those long years of waiting which fueled their faithfulness, worship, prayer, and fasting. And in turn, their faithfulness, worship, prayer, and fasting fueled their faith as they waited.
While we are waiting for Christ to return, the season of Advent reminds us to be hopeful.
Hope comes from something more than just wishing for the best. “If I just keep hoping, everything’s going to work out fine.” No, rather Hope is connected to our faith as we eagerly wait.
We should not ask “what are we hoping for?” but rather “WHO is our hope?” Jesus is our Hope.
J.I. Packer says “The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity– hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory–because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”
Just as Jesus fulfilled the promise of His first coming. We can have hope in the promise of His second coming. While we are waiting, we can be like Simeon and Anna living a life dedicated to walking with God in prayer and in worship. This kind of life fuels our faith to keep believing, to keep hope alive, like Simeon and Anna, until we see the Messiah with our own eyes.
What are you waiting for?
Fuel your faith to keep eagerly waiting through you prayer, worship, and faithfulness!