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Grandfather's gift

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Luke 2:22-34
Jesus’ parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. An old man named Simeon, righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, was filled with the Holy Spirit. When he saw the baby Jesus, he cried out, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace. My eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of all people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed, and Simeon blessed them.

The few biblical sentences we have about the growing up years of Jesus don’t mention his grandparents. But they must have lived nearby and played a big role in raising their grandson.

Perhaps Simeon has been a grandfather, has watched the flowering of his children’s children. He has learned when to speak and, more importantly, when not to. He has held open arms, arms that might not always have been so open were it not for the sweet combination of commitment and distance especially available to grandparents.

Simeon, perhaps, has waited on his grandchild, waited for him or her to grow, to speak, to discover others, to love them, to discover God, to be loved by God. He has become an expert in the art of “being there.”

Now he waits again, this time for a different baby, and as God’s skin-on-surrogate grand-dad, Simeon blesses Jesus at the beginning of his life. Learning to wait has served Simeon well, and his example, like that of Jesus’ own grandparents, is a constant heartbeat in the communal life of Jesus’ family.

God bless them, every one.

The darkness is passing away, Lord, and the true light is already shining. When I am blind, you open my eyes and I see you. Give me courage to turn toward your truth and life, and receive all you have to give.

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