During Advent & Christmas, we are featuring devotionals written by clergy of the Greater NJ Annual Conference of the UMC. For this week, we are focused on reflections related to Simeon, based on the Gospel of Luke.
25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law. 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,
29 “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word,
30 because my eyes have seen your salvation.
31 You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.
32 It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and a glory for your people Israel.”
33 His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”
Simeon had the gift of the Holy Spirit and he cultivated that gift, so that he could see how God was moving in otherwise ordinary circumstances. Jesus would not have been the first child brought into the temple for circumcision. It says it right there in verse 27, the practice was “customary under the law.” But where others might have seen just another circumcision, Simeon recognized the consolation of Israel, a light for revelation to the Gentiles. Simeon didn’t keep this to himself either. He shared what he knew from the Spirit with Mary and Joseph, even though the message was bittersweet – “Jesus is the Messiah, and yet he will face hardship because of it, and so will you.”
As children of God, we are offered the gift of the Holy Spirit too. It is one of the promises of baptism (but the Spirit moves in and through those who have not been baptized too!). We may not all feel like we have this gift in the way Simeon did, an ability to see things through a godly lens, not just our own human lens, but gift of the Spirit is one that can be cultivated. And it shows up differently for different people too.
By the Rev. Emily Wilton
For Pondering & Prayer
Some ways to cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit include regular prayer, reading of scripture, meditation, journaling, fellowship with other Christians, reading devotions and studying faith, and spending time with a spiritual director or on a spiritual retreat. How might you cultivate seeing with the Spirit in your life this year?
Prayer: Holy God, this year lead us towards cultivating a closer relationship with You. Amen.