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Day 24 of 28: Out in the Open

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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Out in the Open

Over the next few days, I want to introduce you to two easily overlooked characters in this Christmas story: Simeon and Anna.

These two were both very old, a common theme in the book of Luke. He consistently stresses the glory that God manifests through the old age of people like Simeon, Anna, Zechariah, and Elizabeth.

Before Jesus’ birth, many were on watch for the redemption story coming down from David’s line as was promised. However, many people thought the story would be… how should I write this? A little more… glorious? They thought there might be something supernatural and wild about his coming.

They thought there might be a great battle scene or a heroic entrance.

They imagined armies with banners or the brave King’s coming would be loud and fiery.

And then there was another group of people. They were known as the “Quiet in the Land.” These people also watched and expected the Messiah, but they weren’t looking for the loud or the fiery.

Instead, they were steadfast and prayerful. They devoted their entire lives to this coming. They were patient and faithful, believing God had a plan we could not predict. 

Simeon and Anna were a part of this group. They were two people who’d waited their whole lives for the coming of Jesus.

Forty days after his birth, Mary and Joseph take Jesus to Jerusalem to dedicate him to God, as was customary in Jewish tradition. They bring an offering– two pigeons– as their sacrifice. While they are in the temple, Simeon walks in.

We don’t know much about Simeon; he was righteous and devout. He followed the Old Testament Law very closely and took his job in the temple seriously. 

As he did his daily work, he was waiting for the consolation of Israel–waiting for God to fulfill his promise of coming to rescue and comfort his people.

The Holy Spirit had promised him that he would see this happen in his lifetime, and he banked on that promise with all he had.

It says in the text that the Holy Spirit led Simeon into the temple, where he saw Jesus for the first time. He took the baby into his arms and said to God, “Lord, I can die now. I am ready because, with my own eyes, I have seen your salvation. It is now out in the open for everyone to see.”

I am amazed by the words that left Simeon’s mouth at that moment. I am surprised that he was so close to God that he knew, at that moment, he was holding the promise. More than that, I am amazed that Simeon wanted nothing more than to see the fulfillment of that promise.

Merely seeing the baby was enough for him because his hope was not for himself but for the rest of the world. How many of us can honestly say that?

These words of Simeon challenge me to ask: What matters most to me? Is it seeing others restored and rescued or focusing inward on all my needs?

Jesus didn’t arrive just for you and me.

He has a plan for the whole world, but we forget that because we are too busy living our lives. We are doing our thing, caring about our people, and asking God to meet our needs.

Simeon declares out loud, “This is good news for everyone. No one is excluded from this good news I am holding in my arms.” 

Today, I am using these words of Simeon to stretch my faith and step outside of myself. I am using them to remind myself that I am just a dot in a massive story, and God didn’t come only for the dot; he came for everyone.

For all the people I discount.

For all the people I’m impatient with.

For all the people I assume are too far gone.

He came for everyone– it’s good news for everyone.

We continue to see this throughout the Gospels as Jesus grows up and lives his life, bringing hope to the lost. We see so many people who encounter him and cannot think to keep their mouths shut because what they’ve discovered is so good and so precious that they want everyone to have it.

Is this us?

Do we feel the same way?

Do I act like it’s good news that I cannot help but share?

 It’s only real news if you share it.

It only really matters if you open your mouth, your home, and your blessings to say to others, “Hey, I have found something worth talking about. I cannot keep it to myself any longer.”

Reading

Luke 2:25-32

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, today I take the focus off my wants and needs, and I am panning out to see the needs of others. Could you help me to see the needs of this world? Show me what I need to be praying for throughout this day. I know you will do it, Lord. I know you will.



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In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.

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