Today’s Word: ‘Simeon’ as in… the Feast of Simeon on this Fifth Day of Christmas!
Simeon comes to the center of the Christmas stage and reminds us of those moments in our lives when we’re moved to say something like:
“Sheeeesh! My life is now complete! I’ve seen everything, I can die a very happy person!”
The Spirit had made a promise to Simeon, “that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” Simeon held onto that promise until it was fulfilled. “My life is now complete!”
It’s a powerful, hopeful, even generative statement. It’s what we experience right after something remarkably transcendent takes place in our lives: a great vacation, a beautiful sunset, a tender kiss, a touch, some really good news, a hug from a friend, a smile from a child, a gift from a grandchild, forgiveness being spoken. I suppose you could even say it’s what you feel right after winning big on Wheel of Fortune or just discovering an unspent Chipotle gift card for twenty-five bucks in your wallet.
It’s all sort of the same thing which leads you to exclaim “Sheeeesh!” The Latin for all of this, of course, is not “Sheeeesh!” which people say all the time. The Latin for this is “Nunc Dimitis” which is the combination of ‘Now’ and a form of ‘to send away’ or ‘dismiss’ which hardly anyone (okay, no one) ever says anymore. But it’s what Simeon said: “God, you can now release your servant: release me in peace as you promised. With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation; it’s now out in the open for everyone to see…”
So on this Fifth Day of Christmas it’s the exclamation of an ancient, wise old sage of a faithful man that reminds us of the presence of Christ, here, now, and finally! The Christ-child, Jesus, steps into our otherwise ordinary, even mundane, often broken-but-healing days with hope and peace and joy and love! And he reminds us of this good news of great joy: the Savior is born! And that changes everything.