Profiles of the Advent – Simeon

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about patience; and patience, proven character; and proven character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4

Patience is a virtue that very few of us seem to want to cultivate. In a world where we have instant mashed potatoes, seemingly unlimited information through the internet and gratification at a moment’s notice, there seems to be little need for this “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23).

To be patient is to endure discomfort without complaint. This makes us cultivate, develop and use other traits such as self-control, humility, and generosity. The Holy Bible says that patience, or perseverance and endurance, comes about through tribulations. Patience, after time deepens our trust in God, and gives us greater confidence about the future.

Simeon is another one of those characters in the Bible that we don’t know much about, except what the Scripture tells us. He is not a historically significant person, so there are not any other records to which we can go to learn of him. According to the Word of God, we do know that he was “righteous and devout…and the Holy Spirit was upon him” (Luke 2:25). He was so filled with the Holy Spirit that it had been supernaturally revealed to him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah (v. 26). We also know that it was the urging of the Holy Spirit that led him into the temple when he saw the baby Jesus (v. 27).

It would have been easy for Simeon to complain when he saw the Son of God and proclaim, “Well, it’s about time, Lord! All this time I’ve been waiting for this! Do you know how bad my gout has been? And I had to suffer that just so I could wait to see this?” No, his reaction was one of pure joy. Perhaps one of the most touching quotes about seeing Jesus comes from Simeon: “My eyes have seen Your salvation.”

It was obvious that Simeon was a man whose patience developed character, so that he could endure to see his hope. Oh, that we would spend more time developing the virtue of patience!

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” – Moliere


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