How good are you at waiting for things? Back in 1970, scientists at Stanford conducted an experiment in delayed gratification. Kids were taken into a distraction free room, where a treat (either two animal cookies or 5 pretzels) was waiting for them. They were told that they could eat the treat – but that if they waited 15 minutes before doing so, they would actually get two treats. Obviously, it makes sense to wait for 15 minutes – but that isn’t always so easy to do!
In the second half of Luke 2, we meet two people who were, it seems, well practised at waiting. Both Simeon and Anna were eagerly waiting for God to come and rescue His people. They had, I suspect, been waiting and longing for God to save for a very long time. But their waiting wasn’t passive. Waiting on God, for both of them, was an active pursuit. Why did they do it? What was it that drove them?
And then, on that wonderful day, they found themselves in the temple as Jesus was being brought in. Simeon, prompted by the Spirit, took the child, Jesus, into His arms, and praised God! He blessed Mary and Joseph, and prophesied to them how Jesus would cause many in Israel to fall – and many to rise. He spoke of how Jesus had been sent as a sign from God, and of how many would oppose Him. He spoke of Mary’s own soul being pierced by a sword.
Anna, passing by as Simeon spoke, joined in the praise. And she spoke about the child to all who had been eagerly waiting for God to rescue Jerusalem. The wait had been long – but now the time had finally come!!
What about you and I? What are we waiting for – and how will it affect how we live today, in 2024, and for the rest of our lives?
Today’s text: Luke 2:21-40