“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.”
As he took Jesus in his arms that day in the temple and praised God, Simeon must have experienced the greatest thrill of his life. Described as “righteous and devout”, he had been promised by the Holy Spirit he would not die until he saw the Christ. I can imagine he visibly trembled with excitement, electrified by the Spirit’s gripping revelation. You would too, to hold Jesus in your arms and know He was the Son of God.
Anna as well: Coming up to (the parents) at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). Do you not think her heart went pitta-pat with delight? She could not wait to spread the riveting news to all who waited for the Messiah.
What about Mary and Joseph? Their spirits too were certainly moved as they “marveled at what was said” about their baby boy (Luke 2:33). Mark Lowry captured that sense of wonder in his lyrics for Mary Did You Know, music by Buddy Greene.
Many of our Christmas songs elicit that thrilling feeling of spiritual delight. In 1741 George Friedrich Handel composed the Messiah. Online sources tell the story that Handel’s assistant walked into Handel’s room one day and found him in tears. As he held up the score to the Hallelujah chorus he proclaimed: “I thought I saw the face of God.” King George II was so thrilled by the Hallelujah movement that he jumped to his feet for the entire Hallelujah chorus, necessitating the audience to do likewise. We, who know that tradition, stand as well.
So be thoroughly thrilled today, Thursday, with your favorite version of the Messiah. Or tune into the Cloverton’s Christmas version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah on YouTube as sung by 10-year-old Kaylee Rodgers and choir. It will bring tears to your eyes. Kaylee may be both autistic and ADHD, but her singing will thrill you:
I've heard about this baby boy
Who's come to earth to bring us joy…
With every breath I'm singing Hallelujah.
Worship Him today ladies. Be thrilled anew. This Baby Boy we celebrate is the Lord’s salvation.