I miss my grandfather.
Pawpaw (as he was called) was quite the character. Everyone called him ‘Mike’ even though his name was Harley. His favorite drink was coffee. Black. Morning. Noon. Night. He took his time doing everything. He walked slow, fished slow, gardened slow. He’d walk every aisle at a flea market (slow) and visit with any vendor that sold knives, wallets, or fishing gear. He’d sit in a restaurant for hours (it felt like hours) after dinner was over. He’d sit in coffee shops long before it was cool to sit in coffee shops.
He’d drive slow – which I might add was the source of much conflict in his marriage. The maddest I’ve ever seen my grandmother was when Pawpaw traded her big Oldsmobile Delta ‘88 with a V-8 engine for a little Toyota truck with a 4-cylinder engine that he called ‘my wheelbarrow.’
We’d show up at his house, and he was ALWAYS sitting on the front porch drinking coffee waiting on us. Always.
“Pawpaw, what you doin’?”
“I’ve been waiting on you!”
I’ve been waiting on you.
How powerful are those words? After all these years, I now realize now how powerful those words are. I understand now how meaningful and full of love those words are. I’ve been waiting on you.
There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He’d spent his life waiting. Waiting on the Messiah. Every day, he would show up at the Temple. Along the way, the Spirit revealed to Simeon that one day he would see the Messiah with his own eyes.
Just waiting. On the Lord. Every day. Doing what he knows to do, doing the next thing. Worshipping. Anticipating. Maybe at times even wrestling with discouragement.
As Joseph and Mary enter the Temple to dedicate Jesus, I wonder what was going on in their minds as this old man approached them. It’d already been a weird few days, so an old man blessing them wasn’t the craziest thing in the world. But his words…
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
You may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
Which you have prepared in sight of all nations:
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of your people Israel.
Simeon, what you doin?
I’ve been waiting on you.
Simeon had been waiting for when all the people of the world would see and know the King. He’d been waiting to see the child that was born for humanity in order to show’s God’s peace and good will toward them. He’d been waiting to see the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
Immanuel. A light for revelation to the Gentiles, the glory of His people Israel.
Simeon teaches us that it’s okay to wait. It’s okay to not get what you want when you want it. Simeon shows us that a life in anticipation is a good thing, not something to dread. He reminds us that while God never operates on our timetable, sometimes being slow is a good thing.
I hope this Christmas we can see through the eyes of Simeon. Eyes that are okay with waiting. Eyes that see hope when it shows up. Eyes that look up in praise when it does.