Simeon’s Song of Thanksgiving
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God (Luke 2:28).
I don’t know why. For me, this is the season of tears. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I cry easily. Over little things. A song on the radio. Seeing a poverty-stricken person. A commercial on television.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia — this Grown Up Girl remembering things from the past that touch the heart of the Little Girl that still resides somewhere deep inside. There’s a grasping and stretching that takes place often this time of year, as I try to feel again the way I once felt. To recapture moments and hold them, cherish them, even if for only a brief moment. Smells. Sounds. Sights.
Perhaps the tears are, at least in part, the result of stresses I place on myself — here, in the present. A sort of anxiety — as I try to meet demands I see as necessities, though they truly are not. The present moment met with an expectation of what once was — where nostalgia mixes with the here-and-now but doesn’t quite measure up. Thus, I feel as though I’ve fallen short, checking it off as a failure — the present becoming, in the blink of an eye, the past.
But that’s not all. My tears come because of something more, beyond these. I believe I cry more easily this time of year because there’s a longing. For promises yet unfulfilled. For that which remains to be seen, to be held and experienced. It’s a future reality for which I yet yearn — hold on to and believe in, even as I wait, with hope.
Because I’m reminded again that Advent calls us to wait — for something still to come. For Someone yet to arrive.
Like Simeon, a man who waited to see God’s salvation through the promised Messiah — a Savior — I, too, wait for His arrival. Not just the one celebrated on Christmas Day. I wait for His second coming, when all things will be made new. How I long, like this man, to “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13).
And so I wait. And in waiting, I hope. And in hoping — yes, sometimes I cry.
Not so much over the past or because of the present but due to the longing in my soul to hold the yet intangible. Because, for now, I see through a glass dimly — and sometimes I grow weary. (I Cor. 13:12).
Today, as I polish Grandma Helga’s flatware in preparation for Thanksgiving — making it shine until I see my reflection, distorted though it is in a spoon — I will offer my imperfect praise to the One who came and will come again, the One for Whom I wait.
Yes, even if the mashed potatoes are gummy or the pie crusts aren’t as flaky as Grandma Alice’s, I’ll praise. Even if there are tensions among family members that erupt into dispute, I’ll praise. Yes, even if.
Like Simeon, who — upon finally holding Jesus in his outstretched arms — blessed God, I, too, will bless the LORD. And my heart will be filled with gratitude — joy in that moment, joy to be remembered even as the day slips from the present into the past.
As I, too, wait for the coming of Jesus I desire not to squint in order to see behind me, nor to scrutinize every minute detail of the present that I might somehow measure up. Rather, I hope to seek Him, knowing that one day, I shall see Him face to face.
Yes, one day.
Until then, I can’t promise not to cry over a Christmas commercial or a sappy song or upon seeing a need that proves our world is yet broken.
What I do promise is to avoid crying, as the saying goes, over spilled milk — because with Jesus, there’s always second chances. There’s always grace. And there’s always the hope of His second coming.
Like Simeon, I desire to live with eyes wide open, with expectation — even when they’re traced with tears.
Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32 — NKJV).