London, Paris, and Vienna. These are the three places I would love to visit, you might say that they are on my bucket list. Most people have a mental list of the things they would like to do before they die and the creative or goal minded individuals will actually write it down. Each dream, goal, or wish comes with our own personal reasons as to why it is so important for us. For me, I want to go to these cities because of the experience. I want to go to London and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and I definitely want to ride a double decker bus plus enjoy a cup of real British tea...these are a must!! The Eiffel Tower is, of course, at the top of my Parisian list along with eating at a real French bistro...best pastries ever(at least they look that way on TV). Vienna has a few must haves as well, hear the Vienna Boys Choir and watch the famous white Lipizzaner horses perform.
I have actually written an article on bucket lists but I wanted to focus on something a little more distinct, a lesson I learned from one of my favorite characters in the Christmas story.
Simeon. He was an old man, a man who had seen many things and probably witnessed a lot of change in his lifetime. He was a just and devout man wholly dedicated to God and spent his days waiting for the Messiah, the hope of Israel. One thing that always catches my attention is the mention of him having the Holy Spirit, something that was not common in that time. The Holy Spirit did not indwell all the children of God yet, only a select few at certain times. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer would not take place until the day of Pentecost, yet Simeon possessed this member of the Trinity. The Spirit revealed that he would not die until he saw the Messiah, and also lead him to the Temple to witness the arrival of a young couple who came with their first born son to bring their poor offering and fulfill the law. Simeon immediately realizes who the child is and takes the baby from Mary (how many moms would have panicked at that moment?). He holds this eight day old baby and begins to praise God for allowing him to see this blessed day fulfilled.
The first coming
Here was a man who had lived for nothing else than to see the promise of the Lord's redemption fulfilled. He spent his days waiting for the day when he would see the Lord, the Savior of the world. His life revolved around the things of God, he was a man who literally was waiting for Jesus to come, and spent his days preparing for the first coming of the Lord. His heart was so fixed on the Messiah's coming that all he could think about was when it would arrive, he was waiting for the consolation of Israel and indeed, the whole world. When the day came, he was ready.
There was no fanfare when Mary and Joseph entered the Temple, to everyone else they looked like a typical couple getting ready to do what the law required. To one Spirit filled man however, they held the long-awaited promise. Let that sink in for a moment, out of all the couples present, he discerned that they held the Messiah. Jesus looked like every other baby, there was nothing special about Him, no glow hovering over Him (despite what the paintings show) but this man was so in tune with God that he knew it was Him. Simeon publicly blessed his God for allowing him to see the salvation of his people and the light to the Gentiles. Listen to what he says in Luke 2:29 "Lord, now lettest thou they servant depart in peace, according to thy word". He was ready to die right there, he did not need to live one more day because all his desires were met and he was content. Life was good.
Before we die
So often we have such a long list of things that WE want to do before we die, but what about God's plan for our life? Please understand that there is nothing wrong with wanting to do things, to have a wish list, but if they consume us instead of God we have a problem. Simeon only wanted to see God, he spent his whole life waiting and preparing for this one moment, so much so that he also gave some prophetic advice to the parents, especially Mary. He understood the significance of Jesus' coming, he realized that the Jews were not the only ones that would be saved, Jesus came to save the world, all of it. He spoke of how Mary's soul would be pierced because of what was to come. Simeon had such insight into spiritual matters because he had spent time meditating on God's Word. Am I not called to do the same?
The second coming
So often my moments are spent on me and my desires. I spend my time waiting for things to happen that will benefit me or that are for the fulfillment of my own pleasures but what time do I give to God and His plans for me? Simeon was waiting for the first coming of Christ; I am to wait on His second coming. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). This is our blessed hope, this is what we are to be ever looking for with great anticipation. It should consume our thoughts and actions but often it does not, we go about our day as if there is nothing happening. Yes, we are to live our life which includes making day to day plans and goals but it should be in such a way that it is a reflection of what is to come. I know that I am guilty of not looking for the coming of the Lord, instead I am running around consumed with my to do lists and selfish desires. It does not cross my mind as often as it should nor does it often guide my actions. Simeon is a great example of how we are to be, ever waiting and preparing for the Lord's appearing while we do the needful things on earth.
A new era
As we celebrate the first coming of our Lord would you take a moment to pause and remember why He came? This season was the one that began a new era, it started the preparation for the second coming, the one where we all will be reunited with the ones we love, earth will be restored and we will see Him as He is.
Merry Christmas everyone!
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
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