Some will wait a lifetime for the greatest gift they will ever receive. Such was the case with Simeon.
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 they salvation, which though hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
What an awesome scene! Picture an old man; a really old man, with his humped back and both legs limp. His speech was hoarse from age and his sight was very limited. His only prayer was to see the Christ before he died. The Christ that had been prophesied since the beginning of time.
Perhaps Simeon may have been saved later in life through faith in the coming Messiah, as foretold by his fathers. He may not have understood the scriptures as told to him, or maybe he really did understand them. Because the Holy Spirit was with him, I believe he did understand.
Picture the scene when he was told to go to the temple by the Holy Spirit; that his prayer was to be answered. I am sure he had assistance getting inside and walking up to the front where the baby was being held. Only the Holy Spirit could have timed it so perfect as to have him there as the Christ was being dedicated at the altar.
He makes his way to the front and I am sure as the new mother and step-father turned to see the old man, they did not understand what was taking place. Perhaps they may have thought that he was a member of the clergy there at the temple. They did not know, but when the old man reached out to hold the child they turned him over to him and were in awe as Simeon spoke of the child as being the "salvation". Perhaps they were not aware that others may have been privy to the prophesies of their child being the Christ. Perhaps it was at this point that it all sunk in for these new parents.
Simeon understood that a Messiah was necessary to have salvation. There must be someone to take his place because of sin. He understood that the baby he held was that Messiah. While he knew he would die, he could rest well knowing Salvation had come!
When Simeon returned to his home it is likely he gave up the ghost and thanked God personally, face to face, for the gift of the season that we know mark as Christmas. What gift are you longing for? Do you long for the gift of Christ in a REAL way?