Holding Jesus

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A stable foreshadowing a tomb. A weary girl trembling with fatigue and pain. A father with the weight of a new family pressing on his shoulders. A king gripped with fear that the Promised Child will be his undoing. And shepherds, their limbs trembling as angels announce a message that rocks their world to the core.

Yet amidst these poignant images, the part of the Christmas story that touches my heart most deeply comes through the words of an aged man…Simeon. God has promised him that his eyes will not close in death until he physically sees the Messiah.

As Joseph and Mary enter the gates of the temple cradling an eight day old baby boy, Simeon’s breath catches in his throat.

The bustle of the crowd fades away as his gaze sharpens to behold the sleeping bundle in his mother’s arms. The Holy Spirit whispers to his heart, “This Child is the One.”

Mouth dry, the joy bubbling in his spirit makes it hard to speak. Before he even knows what he is doing, his feet have moved to stand directly in front of this young mother. He holds out his arms.

Her dark eyes look into his, questioning. After a moment, she lays Jesus in his weathered hands. simeon

Simeon’s eyes fill with tears as he holds the God of universe in the palms of his hands. He whispers, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace,” his breath snags in his chest, his throat tight, “for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory of your people Israel.”

Mary inhales softly at his reverent declaration. She turns to look up at her new husband. His face is filled with question and wonder. Simeon smiles, his eyes trying to memorize every feature of the baby in his arms.

How odd to hold the King of the universe in your hands, knowing He will hold you in the end. old hands 2

It is enough.

His love is enough. His sacrifice is enough.

Jesus is enough.

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