Shortly after his birth Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to observe the appropriate rituals that followed the birth of a boy. While they were at the Temple Mary, Joseph, and Jesus encounter Simeon, an older man who had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died. The Spirit guided Simeon to the baby Jesus, where, upon meeting the child, he declared,
29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.” -Luke 2 (NRSV)
Simeon recognized Jesus as the Messiah and praised God for allowing him to see God’s salvation in the Christ child. God doesn’t make such explicit promises to most people, however throughout the course of our lives God will show us many wonderful and beautiful things. When we are at our best and most attuned to God’s Spirit, like Simeon was we can see these wonders in real time, but often our vision is clouded and we aren’t able to see God’s presence in our lives until after the fact. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
As we step into 2019 let us take a moment to reflect on where God has been in our lives during 2018. Looking back over the last year notice where you have seen God. When you think of a time when God was present with you, follow Simeon’s example and offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to God. In this transition into a new year may we look not only for God’s presence in the year that has past, but also look for God’s presence in the year to come, being open the the movement of the Spirit in our lives.
Eternal God, present since the dawn of time we praise you for your loving presence in every moment of our lives, help us to be aware of your Spirit in this new year, that like Simeon, we may see your salvation, which you have prepared in sight of all peoples. Amen.