The old man was already praying.
For most of his adult life, this was Simeon’s routine. He awoke and prayed, washed his hands and face, ate a meager meal of dates and bread, and headed to the temple, his thoughts on his greatest desire. To see the Messiah.
He knew he would see the Messiah before he died, God had promised him that. But here he was, surely nearing the end of his life, his knees creaking as he shuffled along the familiar route to the temple. No Messiah yet.
Would he be a mysterious warrior, coming along to right the wrongs of the Jewish people? A king that would arise, capturing the hearts and allegiance of a country? Simeon turned left down the next street, the temple filling his view as visions and dreams of the coming savior filled his heart.
“Today,” whispered something in his heart. Simeon’s steps slowed. He craned his neck, as if hoping he’d see where the whisper came from.
“Today,” his heart resonated again.
His pulse quickening, he entered the courtyard, washed again, and instead of starting prayers as usual, he was distracted, examining those milling about the courtyard. Did he hear God right?
A young couple, or rather, the woman was young, entered with a swaddled bundle, presumably here for a circumcision. The eyes of the new parents roamed around, the woman moving slowly, the man gently guiding her.
“Him,” the whisper said.
“A baby?” Simeon let the question fill his heart. A baby? How could this be? A messiah? But as the couple came nearer, the questions fled, and hope took up residence.
The young woman placed her infant in Simeon’s arms and Simeon knew without a doubt, the king was here. How long he had waited! How many times he had almost given up hope! Yet here hope was, bundled up and only a few days old.
Simeon, and the rest of the world, would never be the same.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. Luke 2:30-32