Our Advent Devotion for Thursday, December 23, comes to us from The Fullness of Time by Henri J.M. Nouwen
… for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the
presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for
glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:30-32 NIV
“What greater desire is there in the human heart than to see God?
With the apostle Philip our hearts cry out, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and
then we shall be satisfied’ And the Lord answers: ‘To have seen me is to
have seen the Father’” (John 14:8-10)
Behold the Beauty of the Lord, page 54, by Henri J.M. Nouwen
The verses above from Luke’s Gospel are the words of Simeon at the temple in Jerusalem upon taking the infant Jesus into his arms. Jesus, whose name means “the Lord saves,” is recognized by Simeon as “salvation” and “light” meant for all people, Jew and Gentile alike. We can only imagine the power of that moment – a devout elder who has waited patiently for this Savior not only hears about him or sees him in a crowd, but takes the child into his arms – to see him with his own eyes, to hear his crying with his own ears, to feel the warmth of this baby against his own chest. The greatest desire of Simeon’s heart – and ours – has been fulfilled. This is salvation! God has come in glory, light and warmth!
I believe that Simeon’s words at beholding the Christ child are universal when we behold a newborn baby. A baby is always an inspiration, and hope for the future. Somehow, Simeon realized all of this, and that this baby was even more special than others. This one was indeed the light for all of the world.
Lord Jesus, in you, our eyes have seen salvation and light. In you, our ears have heard the voice of the Father. Draw as near to us as you did to Simeon, so we, too, may rejoice in your glory. Amen.
Henri J.M. Nouwen