As they came to the temple to fulfill this requirement, an elderly man was there waiting-a resident of Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. He was a very good man, a lover of God who kept himself pure, and the Spirit of holiness rested upon him. Simeon believed in the imminent appearing of the one called “The Refreshing of Israel.” For the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before he saw the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. Keeping his promise, the Holy Spirit led Simeon to be in the temple court at the very moment Jesus’ parents entered to fulfill the requirement of the sacrifice.
Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied:
“Lord and Master, I am your loving servant, and now I can die content, for you have fulfilled your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen your Word, the Savior you sent into the world. He will be glory for your people Israel, and the Revelation-Light for all people everywhere!”
Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby.
Simeon then blessed them and prophesied over Mary, saying:
“A painful sword will one day pierce your inner being, for your child will be rejected by many in Israel. And the destiny of your child is this: he will be laid down as a miracle sign for the downfall and resurrection of many in Israel. Many will oppose this sign, but it will expose to all the innermost thoughts of their hearts before God.”
O source of all good, What shall I render to you for the gift of gifts, your own dear Son?
Herein is wonder of wonders: he came below to raise me above, was born like me that I might become like Him.
Herein is love; when I cannot rise to him, he draws near on wings of grace, to raise me to himself.
Herein is power; when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart, he united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreate and the created.
Herein is wisdom; when I was undone, with no will to return to him, and no intellect to devise recovery, he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost, as man to die my death, to shed satisfying blood on my behalf, to work out a perfect righteousness for me!
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, and enlarge my mind! Let me hear good tidings of great joy, and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore, my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose, my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father!
Place me with ox, donkey, camel, goat, to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face, and in him account myself delivered from sin!
Let me with Simeon clasp the newborn child to my heart, embrace him with undying faith, exulting that he is mine and I am his!
In him you have given me so much that heaven can give no more.
-Puritan Christmas Prayer: The Gift of Gifts, The Valley of Vision.