This is the fourth and last in a series of four WORKTALKweeklys designed to help you think about the Christmas story.
Everybody you work with is looking for something. There is no-one alive who was born content. Initially we look for food, clothing, comfort and sleep. As time goes by our quests diversify, but there is no-one who is not looking for happiness, peace, achievement or fulfilment of some kind or other.
A rare few claim to have found all they want, and this may be true, but they would be naïve not to realise that you also have to strive to keep contentment, even when you have found it.
A larger number are still searching: in career, in relationships, in ambition or vision. Some can articulate their goals, while others search haphazardly wondering if one day they will find whatever it is they perceive to be missing.
Simeon’s moment was one of finding. For a long time he had been waiting for the missing Someone who would finally bring comfort to a hurting nation and broken world as well as his own wounded soul. Somehow he had become sure he would see this before he died.
Such was his moment; he finally found what he was waiting for. At first sight Simeon may not have much in common with your colleagues. He was an old, church-centred, spiritual man apparently not involved in the regular routines of work. But if you look again you will see someone hoping to ‘get it’ before he died. Here all paths cross. Everyone has become convinced that there will be a breakthrough before they die.
Unfortunately, as time passes crises kick in, and it begins to dawn on people that there may be no big dream and this is it. But Christmas gives the lie and the dream. For Simeon this was what he had wanted all his life. He could now die in peace. Jesus is the fulfilment of ambition, the realisation of dreams, the end of hope and the ultimate culmination of our search. Everyone at work is looking for something. Everyone hopes to find it before they die. Everyone is looking for the Child of Bethlehem.
There is an important ‘PS’ to Simeon’s moment. Someone called Anna came up and spoke about the child to all who were there. Her ‘moment’ was to let everyone know that the answer was held out right there to them in his parents’ arms. To let everyone know? Such is your Christmas moment.
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
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