Preaching About Simeon’s Song for Advent

Preaching About Simeon’s Song for Advent

So far in this series of posts we looked at 3 of the Christmas Songs found in the gospel of Luke.  You can find the first of them here.  My goal in these posts is to give you preaching material for this busy time of the year.  We have one more song to consider.  In this post we consider preaching about Simeon’s song for Advent as one of the topics for your advent preaching.  I am deeply indebted to a man named Brian Bill for ideas for this message.  You can find a manuscript of his sermon here.

Introducing A Sermon On Simeon’s Song

 Simeon’s Song in recorded in Luke 2:25-35.

Here is an idea for an introduction.  Many people know what a “Bucket List” is.  The idea is to make a list of the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”.  If you are unfamiliar with this concept, to “kick the bucket” means that you do something before you die.  The term was popularized some years ago by a movie in the United States who do all the things that they wanted before they were too sick to do them.  Here’s a link to this movie if you’d like to do more research for an introduction.

You can make this introduction more interesting  by sharing some of the things found on the internet.  Here is a list of 101 things recommended for a bucket list.

From there you can transition by saying that we are going to look at an older man in Scripture that has one basic thing on his bucket list.  His name is Simeon.

Setting the Scene for Simeon’s Song

In preaching Simeon’s Song for Advent to your church, here are a few things to be aware of.

  • Circumcision was required on the 8th day after birth for male children.  We read in verse 21 that this event is the setting for this song. (see Genesis 17:9-14)
  • Forty days after the birth of a son, mothers presented themselves in the temple for their purification (see Leviticus 12).
  • The Old Testament Law also required that a mother and father “redeem” their son by the offering of a sacrifice (see Exodus 13).  This act publicly proclaimed that the child belonged to God.

Two doves for the sacrifice

This passage also lets us know the financial condition of Joseph and Mary.  Leviticus 12 says that when a woman came for her purification, she was to bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a pigeon for a sin offering. If her financial situation didn’t allow giving a lamb, she could bring two doves.  What did Mary bring?  Two doves.  Mary and Joseph were poor.

Simeon Enters the Picture

At this point, we meet Simeon.  We don’t anything about him except what we learn in these few verses.  We know a few things, though.  Here is what we know about Simeon.

  • His name means, “He who hears.”  Obviously he spent time listening to God.
  • He was righteous and devout.  In other words, there was nothing fake about his relationship with God.
  • “Waiting or the Messiah.”  That’s what “waiting for the consolation of Israel” means.  The word translated “waiting” here means that he was alert to his appearance and ready to welcome him.
  • The Spirit filled him.

It can be useful to have the people you preach to try to picture him as he takes Jesus in his arms.  I imagine him with a huge grin on his face initially, or maybe tears streaming down his cheeks.  This was the fulfillment of his bucket list, right here.

You can share your own story of some long-desired possession, or long-desired experience and how you felt.  Now multiply that.  In Simeon’s own words, he’s now ready to die.

Preaching Simeon’s Song

Preaching about Simeon’s song for advent can make these powerful points:

  • Jesus came for all people.  Note that in verse 32 Simeon says that He will be a light for revelation to the Gentiles.  What a joyous message for your church!  What a challenging message for missions!  What great hope for all of us who are not Jewish!   At this point, I thought of a time when we were choosing sides for basketball during recess in middle school.  I wasn’t chosen.  It’s devastating to see something that others are enjoying, but you aren’t.  The Good News is that All are chosen.  Even the failures, the broken, the hurting.
  • Jesus is going to divide people.  Look at verse 34.  Mary is told that “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel….”  And, he will be a “sign that is spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”  Simeon also tells Mary that “…a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”  This is part of the Christian message as well.  The message about Jesus will force people to make a decision that will have eternal consequences.  For Mary, one of those consequences will be a broken heart when Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Lessons from Simeon’s Song

  1. Listen for the Spirit as you live your life.  Sometimes you have to be in the right place to hear the voice of God.  In fact, it is a good practice to ask God occasionally, “Is there anyone here you’d like me to speak to?”  Or ask, “Is there anything I’m supposed to be learning in this situation?”  That’s a good one!  My accountability partner asks that one of me with some consistency.
  2. Be a marveler.  Step back from this story and think about the significance of Jesus’ coming for you.  Then marvel and praise God.
  3. Here’s a strange question: Are you ready to die?  Have you accepted that Jesus is your Savior?  If so, heaven is ready!
  4. The message is for sharing with the whole world.

Have fun with this message!