25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon,
and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luke 2:26-27 (ESV)
The old man, with a full white beard, draped the colorless shawl over his head and stepped out into the street. The morning was calm and dry. This walk would be pleasant.
As part of a daily routine He would take the short trek to the temple. Today he felt a very strong need to commune with God. It wasn't the effects of a dream, or a prophecy read from scripture. He could only describe the urge as a strong desire, drawing him as never before, as if God's own spirit had spoken to him.
The streets weren't overly crowded. There were times of celebration when the crowds could be overwhelming for a man of his age. Today he wasn't jostled by revelers, or merchants trying to make a profit. He lost himself in prayer.
"Simeon, old friend, are you off to the temple?"
The voice belonged to a neighbor whose home Simeon visited on occasion. His name was Bartholomew. He seemed to be heading along the same road as the old man. Bartholomew was much younger than Simeon. He slowed the pace of his strides to match the old man's.
"As I do most every day," Simeon answered his neighbor's question.
"When I saw you stepping out, I though the temple might be your destination."
They were silent for a period of time, their steps matching each others along the stone and clay. As they neared the temple Simeon spoke. "Do you have knowledge of the scriptures, Bartholomew?"
"I know some, but I have to admit I probably do not know as much as you."
"I believe the time of the messiah's coming is near. I have watched for the signs. I believe the Lord has answered my prayers."
"What have been praying for?"
"That I would see this time. That I would be able to see the promise manifested. I am a tired old man, Bartholomew. I wish to rest, but it was revealed to me that I will remain in this old body until the savior comes and I have been able to take Him in my arms."
They entered into an outer court. Bartholomew said his goodbyes and went about his business. Simeon gazed upward toward the holy place and the stairs he would climb. As he surveyed the beautiful surroundings he noticed a young couple with an infant. They were purchasing doves and pigeons for the ceremony of purification.
Simeon moved through the crowd, toward the young family. When he was still a few feet away he made eye contact with the woman. He was surprised that one so young would be the vessel of God. The man beside her placed his arm around his wife. The babe in her arms stirred and Simeon knew.
"Lord, you may now dismiss your servant."
copyright 2016 - Donald P James Jr