“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation.”
About forty days after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem and she was purified and Jesus was presented in the temple. At the same time a righteous and devout man named Simeon came to the temple, led by the Holy Spirit. He saw Jesus and realized who this baby was and what was happening. He saw “the big picture.” What did he see? He saw a baby but he also saw beyond the baby to the promise of God being fulfilled. He saw God fulfilling prophecy, bringing salvation, and giving light for revelation to even the Gentiles! He “the big picture.”
The people in the Christmas Narrative have the ability to see beyond the obvious and to comprehend that God is working in ways that will fulfill God’s purposes, not just make them healthy, wealthy and prosperous. The shepherds look beyond the ordinary stable and all it’s humbleness and see God’s plan for peace between God and his creation. The wise men follow a star that takes them to Bethlehem and they trust and worship a newborn king. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, is able to see how God works miracles and his purposes even in the lives of a poor, humble young couple presenting their first son in the Temple.
How do we see? Are we like a mirror that highlights the wrinkles and blemishes or do we look through the eyes of faith at the world around us? It is somewhat like asking if we see the glass half empty or if we see it half full. A interesting challenge might be to fold a paper in half and on one side write some of the obvious “flaws” that have discouraged you about last year e.g., Covid, inflation, migration but then on the other side make a list of the blessings you experienced e.g. sunrises, birthdays, friends. Take time to pray about the positive experiences and ask God to forgive any criticalness about the negative ones. He is working but it is not always obvious.