And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Simeon’s gray hair fell before his eyes as he bowed in prayer. He regularly prayed for his homeland, his people. He’d lived a good life–a good man–though he never boasted. He hid himself in prayer, asking desperately for help. Praying as he walked and talked. The burden a weight on him, waiting for God to send help. For Israel.
Today, Simeon came into the temple to pray, feeling lead by the Holy Spirit. It was the same Godly whisper that promised him so long ago that he would see the Messiah before he died.
Death feels so close now, as Simeon pulls himself to his feet with worn, thin hands, bones grating against bone where time has worn them down. He hears a quiet commotion at the temple’s entrance. A young family, husband and wife and babe enter, and Simeon’s breath catches in his throat. His slow inhale and exhale is the only thing he hears in the universe as his eyes fall on the baby. The Baby.
The young mother coos at the boy, father leading them to the place of offering, pointing, instructing. Their soft murmurs fall and skitter across the stones to Simeon, and as if time starts anew, a squeal from the Baby wakes him from his stupor.
Simeon’s feet are moving toward the family. He’s twenty feet away, ten, three, and then he stands before Mary and Joseph, Jesus between them, turtledoves in a box at their feet. He can’t help the tears streaming down his cheeks as he gazes at Him. While the baby smiles, a sob bursts out of Simeon, and Mary hands the bundle to his outstretched arms he didn’t even realize were reaching for Him. The King.
“God, I’ve seen the Savior with my own eyes,” the words stutter out of him, “and now I can die in peace. Let everyone see this Savior, a light to the Gentiles and glory to Your people.”
Mary and Joseph stare and stare at the man before them, this grandfatherly man who knows their Son for what He truly is. The Messiah.
As if sensing their surprise, Simeon says to Mary, “This baby boy will mark the falling and rising of Israel. It will not be easy, but painful and heartbreaking, but where He goes, hearts will be revealed.”
Simeon tousles Jesus’ dark hair, runs a finger along his chubby cheek, and hands Him gently to Mary again. She curls her arms around Him, as if her love and strength can possibly stop the future hardships He will face.
Simeon gives the new parents a nod and turns away from the Savior of Israel, of the world, and makes to leave. As he passes through the doorway, he casts a knowing glance at a gray-haired woman standing in the shadows. Prophetess, servant of God, temple dweller. Anna smiles warmly at Simeon and lifts her face to the sky.
“Thank you, Almighty Father,” she whispers, and waves her friend good-bye.