And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Luke 2: 25-26 (King James Version)
I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving.
This Sunday, November 30th, is the First Sunday in Advent: the period of waiting for the arrival of the newborn Jesus which ends on Christmas Eve. I like the Advent Season since it’s in anticipation of the Christmas celebration. For many this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually marked with shopping trips and parties.
However, this is a time of waiting for many. Waiting for what? Glad you asked! It’s the waiting for the consolation. In the above text, we meet a man named Simeon who was devout and waited for the “consolation of Israel,” which probably meant the Messiah. In fact, God allowed Simeon to live long enough to see the child Jesus when he was presented in the temple in Jerusalem.
What was this “consolation” the Jesus was supposed to represent to Simeon? Good question. From what I could gather from Simeon’s subsequent blessing of Jesus, it probably meant that Jesus would be a spiritual consolation-a “light” to both Israel and the Gentiles. That God would deliver Israel (my take), not from the political bondage of Rome; however the spiritual bondage of sin.
As we reel from the shock of the recent Ferguson (Missouri) verdict, many of us on planet Earth are still awaiting consolation. The consolation of racial justice: that the death of Michael Brown-and others like him-won’t be in vain. The consolation of basic living: that people can keep their homes and jobs; a living minimum wage; and decent health care. The consolation of equality: where everyone-regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, etc-has a seat at society’s table, not just the elite. The consolation of peace: the laying down of arms and coming together as brothers and sisters. The consolation of environmental justice: clean water, clean air, arable land for all.
However, unlike Brother Simeon, many are losing hope in any form of consolation. We see people who end up taking their own lives. We see homes breaking up as families can no longer deal with the stresses of life. We see people “tuning out” with drugs, alcohol, cheap entertainment, gambling, etc. Many live as if there’s no tomorrow, for they fear that tomorrow won’t come at all. Our fragile environment’s taking a beating, causing many to wonder if we should continue the species, or that we need to just die and give Earth a break. Or, others will just lose themselves in the Holiday “madness” of parties, shopping, and escapist entertainment so they don’t have to face that which troubles them; and encourage others to do the same.
During this Advent Season, let’s pray for the arrival of the Consoling Christ in our lives-individually and collectively. And if there are any of us who know of that consolation, let us be a consolation to others in love-regardless of who and what they are.
For many are still waiting for the consolation…