"It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah." — Luke 2:26
An old man stands in the temple with a baby in his arms. Chuckling with giddy joy, or lost in wonder? Then he announces that he has seen God's salvation and he can die in peace.
But what has Simeon seen, really? It's just a little child in his arms, a speechless newcomer to the world. Whatever salvation this baby might work is still only a promise and a hope. But Simeon stands there in grateful anticipation at the future he holds in his hands.
Then there is the prophet Anna, also old and approaching the end of her days. She adds to the joy and praise of the moment.
By the time Jesus becomes a grown man, Simeon and Anna will have died. They will not be able to see with their own eyes what Jesus does as the Savior of the world. But in their patient faith they saw enough to know that God is true to his promises.
Today we know more than they did, for we have the rest of the gospel story. And we hope for more. Having tasted the kingdom's presence, we hunger and thirst for its coming completely when Jesus comes again.
But for now, may we stand here in patient faith, like Anna and Simeon, and say, "We have seen him, and that's enough for now. We know and trust that the Lord will keep his promises."