The muscles above his eyes and around his temples were taunt and achy. He continually pressed the sides of his hands to his lids as if rubbing would remove the blurriness. The blurriness seemed to dim the gleam from the oil lamps, or were the beams becoming weaker causing his debilitating vision?
As he stretched his arms above his head, he noted the knotted shoulders bunched at ear level. “Ah, I am too old and bowed to be worthy of the great task set before us, Meah.”
“You tire, Master. You have been toiling over the translation of Isaiah at great length.”
“I do not toil, kind friend. It is blessing to bring the knowledge of our ancestors to the common man’s Greek language. Our people have need to hear and be reminded to watch for His sign of the virgin who bears a son, our Immanuel.”
As Simeon expounded the knowledge garnered at his readings, Meah brought cool, soaked cloths to moisten the elder’s eyes.
“Thank you, Meah. You do your job well. I must follow your example and do my job in like manner. I believe I will take a walk to the Temple to stretch the muscles of both my body and mind. Then, perhaps, I will be able to carry out my task with more vigor.”
As Simeon maneuvered the familiar passageways, his heart pondered the prophesied Messiah. Great God, I praise Your Magnificence which is exceeded only by Your Mercy. We, Your people, have no understanding to think upon You, and yet, You promise us a sign that we may know our Redeemer. I am of the most blessed to have Your Word to see the Promised One before my body is laid to final rest. An urgency came over Simeon’s spirit as he grew nearer the Temple. His senses alerted, his steps quickened.
Upon entering, there was nothing amiss in the Temple. Yet, Simeon felt the same quickening sensation as occurred upon the visit in which God promised that he would live to see the Messiah. He waited, quietly, as his heart pounded in his breast. He watched as individuals came and went, saying their prayers, giving their offerings, making penance. Then, he spied the man who held two small birds and the woman, beside him, cradling a baby, obviously coming to make the sacrifice of the poor for the consecration of their first born son, as was according to the Law.
Simeon walked directly to them, proclaiming a welcome. Joseph began, “My wife has born a son.” Mary extended her arms to display the babe. “It is the time…”
“Indeed, it is the time,” Simeon interrupted, taking hold of the infant. As he spoke, it was as if hope filled the chamber. “My God, how Blessed You are. I praise Your Name and declare Your Word. All Your covenants have been fulfilled in the presence of the Redeemer. I now may die, my soul is satisfied. I have seen Your Salvation which has been revealed to all nations and which is the Glory to Israel.”
Joseph and Mary watched and listened to this man’s exceptional reaction unsure if he addressed them, their baby, or another. Turning to them, he granted his blessing, “Father, Mother, I give you what blessing I have, although it pales to the Blessing you have already received from the Almighty.”
As his eyes fixed on Mary the previous feeling of hope dissipated. Mary noted the exultation of his look was replaced with concerned sadness. “Mother, hold fast to your belief. The days ahead proclaim a defeat for this child among our people, but His will be the victory. There will be those who disclaim the sign of that victory. Indeed, your own soul will be wounded grievously by this sign, but all will result in the true revelation of men’s hearts.”
All those in the Temple witnessed the interaction between Simeon and the young family. Among them was a prophetess named Anna, a descendant of the tribe of Asher. From that day forth, Anna witnessed to all seeking Redemption, the proclamation that the Messiah had come.
Story adapted from Luke 2:21-38.
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