And this man was… waiting for the consolation of Israel… And it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:25-26).

Though Simeon is generally seen as a figure of the Christmas story, just another man in line to see the Christ child, time and time again I came back to him as a figure for Advent. He is a portrayal of the fulfilment of Advent: having been promised not to see death until he had seen Christ, he waited and waited until that final day when Mary and Joseph came to the temple. Who knows how long he waited? Who knows when God had given him that promise? I wonder how he waited: if he hoped the meeting would be far off, or if he was full of anticipation and longing to see Christ.

Who knows how long we have to wait? One day we will see the fulfilment of Advent, the return of Jesus. May we watch for it and glorify in it like Simeon.


He must have had a long wait.

The consolation of Israel
was too much, too big
for one man to hope for,
in spite of any promise—
too long to wait for death.

Did he feel the fulfilment
of the promise
draw near, the tremors
of the word rippling
through his body like
heavy winds before a storm,
like the sweetness
of the air before the spring?

We, too, are waiting
for consolation,
for the desert to blossom
like the crocus,
to finally say Sovereign Lord,
you now dismiss your servant
in peace. For my eyes have seen
your salvation.

The consolation of the world,
too big for one man,
is clutched like a nail
through the palm
of a baby.


Image from:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.