Word of the Month

Simeon’s joy

December 2008

The Lord seeks to fill us with joy. He has stated this on various occasions through the prophets (cf. e.g. Isaiah 49: 13; Jeremiah 31: 13). In this regard one might well ask: “Well, where does this joy come from?”

For us, joy comes into being through the awareness that the Lord is coming soon. Beyond that, we will see our loved ones again. The Lord will lead us into this joy. What a great moment that will be! Then there will be no more separation and no more pain. Then we will be filled with perfect divine joy. But this joy is already to take effect here on earth. Our hearts should be prepared to experience this moment!

There are still other reasons for joy. One such reason is that we can gather experiences of faith. It is beautiful whenever we can make the experience that the dear God is near and that He reveals Himself to us, often even in little things. When we experience this joy again and again, we will gain new strength, even in difficult hours.

I am reminded of an example from Holy Scripture. There we read of Simeon, who would continually come into the temple in order to wait for the promised Messiah (cf. Luke 2). This longing in his heart must have been infinitely strong. And one day it was fulfilled: a child by the name of Jesus was brought into the temple in His parents’ arms.  Simeon was able to recognise that this was the promised Messiah. Then he turned to God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace… for my eyes have seen Your salvation” (cf. Luke 2: 29-30). What spectacular thing was there to see at that moment? It was only a child, just like any other. But at that moment, Simeon must have felt – by the power of the Holy Spirit – that God was present.

If we open our hearts and ask: “Dear God, reveal Yourself to me!” He will show us His presence. If Simeon was able to make such an experience in his time, it should also be possible in our day.

Whenever we are in need of joy and special strength, then let us pray: “Dear God, show me Your presence. Let me feel anew that You are very close!” The Lord will not bypass such a petition. I have experienced this many times in my life. This makes one joyful and sure. We rejoice in the awareness that our Lord is coming soon. We rejoice in the reunion with our loved ones. But we also rejoice over little moments in which we can feel the nearness of God.

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)