“There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And when the parents brought in the child Jesus; then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” – from Luke 2:25-33
Simeon’s encounter with the baby Jesus is perhaps not as well-known as that with the shepherds or the wise men. Nevertheless, it too holds a wonderful meaning that is a part of the Christmas story. Simeon was waiting for something. Actually, he was waiting for Someone. He was waiting for the Messiah who would not only bring comfort but who would be the “consolation of Israel.”
Israel needed consoling — they needed solace from their pain. Their nation, like many, was under the heavy boot of the Roman empire. They were plagued by political oppression and poverty and by discrimination and disease. This once great nation was now only a shadow of its former glory.
Nevertheless, there was hope for the people of faith. Their hope was the promised Messiah. This was Simeon’s hope and now he saw it in the face of this little baby!
There are many today who are losing hope. The world, despite all of the astonishing advances, is no safer, no less violent, nor any more hopeful. Enemies of peace keep popping up. New diseases arrive on the scene. Modern technology has done a lot for convenience and creature comforts but very little to bring hope to the mind and soul of man.
The world is in desperate need of a true source of hope. Christmas reminds us that there is a true source of hope!
However, it is far more than just the distraction of a holiday with glowing lights and brightly wrapped presents. It is a Saviour, born in Bethlehem, laid in a manger, worshipped by men and angels. Who later died on a cross and rose again from the dead. His name is Jesus and He brings consolation to hurting man in a hopeless world.
Only Jesus Christ can bring real and lasting consolation because He alone can fix what is at the root of all of our pain, namely sin. Dear friend, if you have placed faith in the One whose birth we celebrate, for the forgiveness of your sins, you will have not only a merry, but a hopeful Christmas.
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church