“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.”
Luke 2:25 NIVUK
I have just started a new 25 day reading plan about preparing for Christmas, as an addition to my regular reading plans and it has got off to a great start... well for me it has.
After the reading and some devotional words, each day has sections that encourage you to spend some time that day doing things based on the reading. These sections are things like 'Exploration, Expression, Experience and so on.
Today, day 1' the Exploration section invited me to consider how my life, or our lives, can reflect the kind of anticipation that we see in Simeon and Anna in our reading from Luke.
They had both experienced and heard from the Father, they both knew what the nation needed and what God had promised and they were waiting for Him and preparing themselves for Him. They were way ahead of the rest of the people who really were 'singing from a different hymn sheet'
Odd, is it not, that they had all read and been taught the same scriptures and they had all heard the same prophetic warnings, promises and encouragement.
But then of course we need to layer onto this the agendas of those who did the teaching, the willingness of people to believe without exploring ( or sometimes even thinking) for themselves, the personal and cultural agendas that we are often blind to ourselves but which massage the message to suit our personality and desires and probably other stuff we are unaware of! Nonetheless, God showed, through Simeon and Anna, that none of this stuff need actually prevent the powerful, life changing 'truth that sets us free' from breaking through our self constructed or 'others imposed' barriers and filling us with Holy anticipation.
Simeon and Anna not only knew what Gods word said, they knew what it meant, they knew what it meant for them, what it meant for the nation and what it meant for the world.
When they saw Jesus, even as a baby, they saw in Him the entire hope of the world - this is the One they had been anticipating and, on seeing Him, they knew that God was among them.
So, how on earth do or should or can we even begin to match anticipation like this?
Firstly, read Gods word and seek not only to know what it says, but to understand what it means. Then, viewing the world through the filter of Gods Word, expect to see Jesus in your circumstances and situations today.... not simply looking forward to tomorrow, but expect and anticipate that you, and through you, others, will come face to face with Jesus, today. Watch out for Him in your everyday - anticipate Him and be excited at the prospect.