This Christmas editorial from December 24, 1978, was written by Sam E. Stone, who served as editor of Christian Standard from 1978 to 2003.
Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph brought Him to Jerusalem where they presented Him to the Lord. “Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord,” the law declared. Likely many worshipers saw them carry the babe into the temple. But one man had a different view.
“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him” (Luke 2:25*).
While others awaited a Messiah who would be a warrior-king, Simeon watched for one who would be the seed of woman, the Son of man, the suffering servant, the Son of David. He waited the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy—“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). The Holy Spirit had revealed to this righteous man that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Visualize the scene. Perhaps he was standing in the court of the women, the large area outside the temple proper. R. C. Foster described it like this:
We are not told who was carrying the infant at the time, but we like to think that Simeon boldly walked up and took the infant son out of the arms of His mother. It is not hard to imagine the shock—the emotions of fear, astonishment, and thrilling joy—which raced through her heart. One good look at the feeble old man with natural goodness so evident in his countenance . . . would have reassured her after her first fright. With a wonderful outburst of inspired thanksgiving, Simeon blessed God for the glorious thing which He had brought to pass (1958 Bible Teacher and Leader, Standard Publishing, p. 354).
Simeon explained, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
We need to share Simeon’s experience. We need to see the Lord this Christmas. Simply hearing of the infant in a manger is not enough, however. We must look with the eye of faith to Calvary, knowing that there He died for us. We must be assured that He arose and lives now as our intercessor in Heaven. The poet declared,
Though Christ a thousand times
In Bethlehem be born,
If He’s not born in thee
Thy soul is still forlorn.
The cross on Golgotha
Will never save thy soul;
The cross in thine own heart
Alone can make thee whole.
This Christmas may bring the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy to many homes. Jesus is indeed a light of revelation to the Gentiles. Simeon’s thrilling words remind us of the confidence we can have when Jesus is our Savior. Now we are prepared for eternity since we have found the Lord!
All of us may want to do many things before we die. There are places we want to go. There are goals we want to reach. We have desires so deeply personal that we seldom mention them. A Christian mother lying in an intensive care unit told the nurse, “I suppose that every mother hopes to live to see her children raised.”
Though we have these ambitions, we know that we may not get to see them all fulfilled. Many will remain unrealized. But what is necessary? What is the all-important factor that we must take into account before we die?
It is simply God.
If I never travel to all of the places I want to visit, I can still go to the one place where I want to live eternally.
If I don’t do all the things I want to do on earth, yet I can be sure that I have done that which has everlasting worth.
And even if my lifetime does not last long enough for me to accomplish those objectives that I consider important, still I will have made my life right with God.
Christmas at Simeon’s house is a picture of what Christmas should be at every house—a time when men see Jesus. Only then can we be prepared for whatever else may come. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
*All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.