December 2, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Luke 2:25-32
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
Even when discord and disillusionment abound, there can and will be consolation. Simon was right where he was supposed to be, and he teaches us today two lessons that anxious hearts tend to forget: Advent is about learning to wait well in the silence between promise and realization. And that Advent gives way to more Advent.
Culture today lends itself to anxious hearts and hands. We are quick to want answers—fix-all’s, really—to whatever the situation is of the day. Normalcy bias unpacks itself in achievement standards, expectations of others around us, the notion of it being inconceivable to fail, the dogma of holding others to perfection, metrics, financial security, and perfectly prepared meals for Christmas dinner. All of it converts economically into billions of dollars of medicating or sadly exploiting others’ angst. We are not unique or worse than any other era; in the first century we might have been Essenes on retreat or Herodians or Zealots in hopes of hurrying things on.
You cannot rush the grand narrative of God. You cannot thwart the narrative or any character in it either. Even when discord and disillusionment abound, there can and will be consolation. Simeon was right where he was supposed to be and he teaches us today two lessons that anxious hearts tend to forget: Advent is about learning to wait well in the silence between promise and realization. And that Advent gives way to more Advent.
Simeon was doing what he was called to do, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit’s Advent for Simeon was to bring a pledge promise. The arrival of God was not to fulfill everything but to say exactly what anxious hearts would rather avoid: wait for another Advent.
While in God’s presence, Eve and Adam are told that heels will be bruised and heads crushed, but they wait. Abraham sees God, but he will wait for God to bless his seed. Israel is guided by God’s presence, but they will wait for a new Jerusalem. Mary will be with God in the most unique of ways, but she too will wait. If the gospel does not teach us anything else well, waiting is a fundamental lesson.
What was Simeon hoping for?
What did the Holy Spirit promise Simeon?
Think about the things God has promised you this year. What are you still waiting for Him to do regarding those promises? Look at Simeon’s actions again and draw out the characteristics. Look at your own method of waiting. How do you align with his example? Where do you vary?
We are learning to embrace your pace, Father. We remember your son was Messiah and holy even in the ordinary work and life of carpentry for years. He waited diligently until the time for the scriptures to be fulfilled. He waited for each person he passed, never rushing past their person to see what they will become. We remember you are patient (1 Peter 3:9). We remember that your Gospel is about waiting. Teach us to work while we wait for your Advent also. Amen.
Banner image by Semyon Borisov on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God at Work (Luke 1, 2, and 4).
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.