The Song of Simeon by Pastor Roger Rohde

The Song of Simeon

Luke 2: 29-32

In a Peanuts cartoon by Charles M. Schulz, little Lucy threw up her arms in despair and cried out: “For months we looked forward to Christmas.  We couldn’t wait until it came, and now it’s all over!”

While Christmas can be a very busy time for all of us, we do look forward too much that surrounds us this time of year.  We enjoy listening to and singing the Christmas hymns and songs.  We delight in the delicious goodies that come out this time of year.  We love seeing all the beautiful decorations brightening the landscape.  Most of all we enjoy the opportunity to get together with family and friends.  Most of this is now behind us as Lucy notes.  Oh, there may be a few more special events taking place, but in another week or so all the wrappings of Christmas will be packed away, and family and friends will have returned home.

This, however, does not mean that the real beauty of Christmas is behind us.  We do not have to sit here this morning or in the next week and join Lucy declaring that Christmas is now over.  The true significance of Christmas lives on even when the presents are gone, the lights taken down, and the family members have gone home.  At the heart and center of Christmas is the Babe of Bethlehem and what He brings to the world.  This is what Simeon’s song is all about.  It is about the peace and joy we can take with us from Christmas into the new year, because “unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.”

This song of Simeon is founded upon God’s Word of promise.  Simeon was told “that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”  How long Simeon waited for this promise of God to be fulfilled we do not know.  But Simeon waited, and as he waited he continued to devote himself to worshiping the Lord.

He actually was at the temple the day God’s promise to him was fulfilled.  Mary and Joseph had made the six mile trip from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s Law of dedication and purification.  It was when Mary and Joseph came to the temple with baby Jesus that Simeon was privileged to take Him in His arms.  It is then that Simeon’s song flowed from his lips.  In the Christian church this song is known as the Nunc Dimittis, which comes from the first two words of this song in the Latin language.  The words mean, “Now You dismiss.”  Simeon could now face life and even death with the peace of knowing that the Savior had come.

Our coming to this place to hear God’s Word and receive His Supper is important for it is through these means that Jesus presents Himself to us with His very body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.  As we receive the Lord’s Supper He prepared for us, we like Simeon can depart in the peace that our eyes have seen Christ’s salvation.

These words are truly appropriate for us today as we stand between Christmas and a new year.  The significance of Christmas does not have to be packed away with the decorations.  The Babe of Bethlehem is still with us.  He is our Immanuel.  Yes, even if we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death in the year ahead, we need not fear because the Lord will be there right with us.  In death He promises to be with us and take us safely to our heavenly home.  The external celebration of Christmas may be over, but the meaning of Christmas lives on throughout the New Year.

Today then is not a day to throw up our arms about the uncertainties that come with a new year.  Rather at this altar today Jesus reminds us of His saving work, and assures us that He has hold of us so that we may move forth in the peace and joy of the Lord.  Live in the blessings of His salvation and have a blessed New Year in His name.  Amen.

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