A Premature Celebration of Faith?

You’re holding a baby eight days old. So tiny, so cute. Maybe the little one is peacefully asleep. Maybe eyes are wide open, taking in new sights and sounds. In Luke 2:25-35, the very old Simeon holds Jesus, all of eight days old, and celebrates God’s victory. It seems like a very premature celebration!

As I like sports, it seems bizarre to me to celebrate a victory just because my favorite team shows up to play. You wait to celebrate until the game is finally over, because you never know what may happen.

But for Simeon, simply laying eyes on an eight day old baby is the reason to celebrate God’s certain victory. What has Jesus done at this point? What gives Simeon such confidence of this victory? Doesn’t Simeon realize the depth of the difficulties awaiting Jesus? That all the powers of hell will be focused on destroying this Jesus?

Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the conviction of things unseen. To believe God is to have confidence that what He has promised will happen, even if your circumstances point the exact opposite way. Simeon celebrates based on faith. Jesus, God’s promised Messiah, is born. The victory hasn’t been won, but it is certain to come to pass!

But Simeon’s faith extended much deeper than simply knowing that happier times are coming. When he speaks privately to Mary, he acknowledges the darker side of Jesus’ victory. Some will oppose him. A sword will pierce your own soul. Jesus will bring salvation, but some will reject Him.

What of you? As you celebrate Christmas, do you believe in the victory of Jesus? Do you oppose and reject Him? May you see beyond the baby in the manger to the conquering King and trust in Him!