Now that I have held Him in My Arms…


Now that I have held Him in My Arms – Lyrics by Michael Card

An old man in the temple,
Waiting in the court:
Waiting for the answer to a promise.
All at once he sees them,
In the morning sunshine,
A couple coming carrying a baby.

Chorus: Now that I’ve held him in my arms,
My life can come to an end.
Let Your servant now depart in peace,
‘Cause I’ve seen Your salvation:
He’s the light of the Gentiles,
And the glory of His people, Israel.

Mary and the baby come,
And in her hand five shekels,
The price to redeem her baby boy.
The baby softly cooing,
Nestled in her arms.
Simeon takes the boy and starts to sing:

Now that I’ve held him in my arms,
My life can come to an end,
Let Your servant now depart in peace,
‘Cause I’ve seen Your salvation,
He’s the light of the Gentiles,
And the glory of His people, Israel.

Now’s the time to take Him in your arms,
Your life will never come to an end.
He’s the only way that you’ll find peace,
‘Cause He’s the light of the Gentiles,
And the glory of His people, Israel!

Another incredible song by Michael Card. As is typical, perfect word choices combine with great vocals for memorable mental images. From the first time I heard this song, the line “Simeon takes the boy and starts to sing…” has made me continually reflect back to the mindset of Simeon, and the utter joy that he must have felt overflowing within him. Of all the things this old man could have done at that moment…shout, laugh, cry, smile, clap, pray…Michael Card says he began to SING…..perfect!! Amazing- imagery.

Now That I’ve Held Him in My Arms

I had many ideas for a post this week, and I neglected to write them down. It is soon Christmas time and I thought of writing a series of posts about real Christmas. Christ coming down to earth. As a result, Michael card seems to have the best lyrics for this season for me. Today I have settled on this one, which is one of my all-time favourites. This song never fails to make me cry. No Christmas song I’ve heard is as good as Michael Card’s Now That I’ve Held Him in My Arms.” I like Simeon so much I I have had to write a post for this Christmas.

Simeon and Anna are two charming seniors who gathered at the Temple to pray and long for God’s justice and Kingdom because they knew Israel’s condition was not what God planned.

“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. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” ~Luke 2:25-32

For Simeon Christmas meant hope for his people. Here is what we know about this senior saint of Israel: he was in Jerusalem; he was “righteous and devout” (like Joseph, a tsadiq); he was holding out for the “consolation of Israel”; and the Holy Spirit was on him (and he knew the Messiah would come before he died).

What strikes all of us about Simeon is that the coming of the Messiah to redeem his people is all that mattered to Simeon. Tenacity, courage, stamina, endurance are terms that describe this old man. I imagine him to be grizzly, with his eyes up and darting here and there as he awaited the arrival of the Messiah.

Some people just give up. Trials that overwhelm, loves that disappoint, faith that doesn’t come about, temptations that undo, relationships that fall apart, families that don’t work right, jobs that don’t fit one’s talents and dreams — these are the sorts of things that shatter our dreams and diminish our hopes.

But not Simeon. He kept going to the Temple, day by day, looking around and up until he knew in his own heart that Messiah had arrived.

What I’m also struck by is that Simeon was hoping for Israel’s consolation — we don’t learn a word about his family, his kids, his friends, or himself. Where would he like to be buried? What awards did he deserve? Simeon’s hope is for Israel and the redemption of Israel.

Simeon’s hope didn’t immobilize him. He is known as “righteous and devout” and that means that he was full of deeds of mercy, he did the Torah as it was taught, and he served the Lord in his community. Hope energizes holiness; it ought not to deflate it.

Jesus learned from someone, probably just in the pages of the Bible, that one ought to keep on praying and not give up or fade (Luke 18), but no one is a better example than this old man in the Temple: Simeon.

Eyes looking up, looking around, thinking “Maybe today will be my day!” Maranatha! he prayed. Come, Lord Jesus!

I’m challenged here with the thought that Simeon saw beyond his own agenda. More like Simeon’s agenda had come to be swallowed up in God’s agenda of the kingdom. And in so doing Simeon’s true calling was fulfilled – Amen.

 

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