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Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.
Some years ago my wife received news that her uncle Harold had cancer. Harold had been a special blessing to her since her childhood in Virginia. He had stayed in touch over the years, often sending gifts and offering words of encouragement.
Harold was passionate about healthy eating and an expert on natural and herbal health supplements. He had remained remarkably healthy and energetic for the 80 years of his life and had never spent a day in the hospital. As often happens with cancer, soon after his diagnosis, his health failed rapidly.
Due to the closeness of the relationship, my wife’s concern for Harold grew as his health deteriorated. But it wasn’t just his physical health that burdened her. She was also worried about his spiritual well-being. Although he was a good man, he had never given his life to Christ.
Family members who lived nearby, told us Harold was not a Christian. They asked a local pastor to pay him a visit, but he had not yet showed up. Time was running out. That’s when Janet asked me if we could make the drive to Virginia from our home in Alabama to talk to him about his relationship to Christ.
We found him frail and suffering from pain inflicted by the disease. Most of his days were spent sitting in a chair or laying on a sofa. He was just too weak to get out.
He was excited to see Janet, enough to request we take him for a ride in the country.
As our tour guide, he led us to places of special meaning in his life. Upon our return we helped him into the house where he again slumped into his chair.
Throughout our visit, I had been praying for the right time to engage him in a discussion about his spiritual condition. The time had come.
“Harold, I would like to ask you a personal question,” I asked.
He nodded acceptingly.
“Have you come to the place in your spiritual life that you know you will go to heaven when you die?”
He said he had not come to such a place and worried about his relationship to God. And from that point on he listened intently to all that I had to say about the way to eternal life through Christ. When I asked if he was ready to receive Jesus, he acknowledged he was ready, so I led him in prayer.
As soon as he said, “Amen,” something amazing happened. This elderly man, frail and crippled by cancer, suddenly clapped his hands and hopped up in his chair. “I am so happy!” he shouted. “The weight has been lifted. The burden is gone. I can feel it,” he said, as he launched into a chorus of heartfelt praise for what God had done.
In today’s scripture, we’re told of an old man named Simeon, burdened for his people, Israel. His prayer was that he would not die until he saw God had intervened to save His people.
That day came when he met the baby Jesus. He responded, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation…”
An encounter with Jesus is life changing. Suddenly the weight of his burden was lifted in the person and presence of the Savior.
Just like Simeon, my wife’s Uncle Harold experienced the incredible peace that comes from knowing Jesus.
Is there somebody you love who is not a Christian? Isn’t it time to tell them the good news? Of all the gifts you gave or received this Christmas, none is greater than the gift of eternal life. Give it to someone you love today.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Find Peace in a Chaotic World
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.