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Song of Simeon By W. Scott Brown

Insights from Simeon, his song and unshakable faith.

A biblical character who has captured my attention this Christmas season is Simeon. I find his faith remarkable, his obedience inspiring and his joy contagious.

We learn of Simeon’s expectant devotion to God in the Gospel of Luke.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. (Luke 2:25)

Just imagine Simeon’s experience and the faith it exemplified. There had been 400 years of silence from the last notes of Malachi in the Old Testament until Simeon’s present day. For many of his peers the music had likely faded as the long-awaited Messiah had not yet appeared.

All was quiet, yet he still strained for the notes of a long-remembered tune. Then suddenly a single note rang in the darkness as Simeon heard from the Holy Spirit the remarkable message that he would personally live to see the promised Messiah.

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)

Could it be that the long-awaited Messiah would appear in his lifetime? What an incredible message. Yet, we know Simeon believed for we learn that he continued to listen intently for the Spirit’s voice. On another seemingly normal day for him in Jerusalem he heard from the Holy Spirit again. It was time!

Immediately Simeon obeyed the Spirit’s prompting and expectantly headed to the temple courts. There must have been a great hustle and bustle about the temple, yet this devout man was divinely directed to a simple young Galilean couple and their child. Suddenly the music swelled as he beheld the long-expected Messiah, the baby Jesus who had been brought to the temple by Joseph and Mary.

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God. (Luke 2:27-28)

Simeon’s faith was rewarded, and he reacted with a chorus of utter joy and praise to God. He testified to Jesus as Savior, in what is often referred to as the song of Simeon.

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 the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
(Luke 2:29-32)

The Dutch master Rembrandt captured this moment beautifully in his 1631 painting “Simeon’s Song of Praise.” I love how he captured the miraculous light that Jesus brings to our dark world.

This Christmas may we join in symphony with believers worldwide to share the joy of the gift of Jesus, and reflect his brilliant light to our darkened world.

  • What can we learn from Simeon’s unshakeable faith?
  • How can we to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s guidance?
  • With whom can we share the joy and meaning of Christ’s birth today?


Scott Brown, CCNL, is Vice President for Leadership Experiences and Resources, Christian Leadership Alliance, and Editor-in-Chief for the Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.


Merry Christmas from the staff of Christian Leadership Alliance!







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