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November 2016 Newsletter

Seeing Salvation in the Shadows

By Laurie Nichols

November 1, 2016

I know that Advent is still weeks away, but I can’t help but start to think about it with expectation. This year, my focus is a little different.

You see, I like to see what happens in the shadows of the major events of life—the look on the groom’s face as he waits in anticipation of his soon-to-be-wife to walk down the aisle, the 8-year-old outfielder practicing his catch in anticipation of the all-star batter going up to the plate, the millions of single moms working tirelessly to provide for their children while many families spend to excess.

In the story of Jesus’ birth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph take center stage—as they should. But I am astounded over and over by the smaller narratives that surround the event as well—the shepherds, Anna, the wise men, Herod, but most of all, Simeon (Luke 2:25-35). Of Simeon it was said that he “was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (vv. 25-26).

His hope was that he wouldn’t die before he met the baby Jesus. He waited. And waited. And finally the day came. Scripture doesn’t tell us how long he waited, but we get a sense that he didn’t use his time wandering aimlessly; quite the contrary! Instead, he worshiped God in the temple.

And as he worshiped God, he became deeply in tune with God’s plan of salvation, which was to surpass what anyone could imagine. Simeon’s prayer in vv. 29-32 is one of the first precursors in the New Testament of the scope of the salvific plan:

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.

Salvation will now come to the Gentiles—to the whole earth! Simeon waited and spent time worshiping God. As a result, he clearly announced a plan more wild than any imagined—Jesus didn’t come just to save the Jewish people, but to save all. Today as well, Jesus doesn’t come for just a select few. He is the Savior of the whole world—those in the spotlight, and those in the shadows. The all-star, and the clumsy. The rich, and the poor. Those we love, and those difficult to love. He has come for all.


Laurie Nichols is New Name's very own writer. She writes the beautiful monthly devotionals. The Lord has truly gifted Laurie and we are so grateful that she shares her talent for New Name. Thank you Laurie!