Meeting Jesus' family, Simeon played a special role. He prophesied about their future, he praised God for their present, and he blessed them so they would someday remember this moment and rejoice that God had been with them from the start.
It's good for parents to help mold an appropriate vision for their children's future. How doubly powerful this would be if it also came from the previous generation -- grandparents and elder church members who'd play more than Santa Claus and take on the prophetic role of a Simeon, saying, "This is the kind of person I see God has fashioned you to be."
Similarly, in a society where too many of us suffer from a bewildering sense of aimlessness, what a vibrant task it could be for our elders to reassure us with their praises to God for our lives, the way Simeon praised God for the life of Jesus. These praises could be a beautiful form of offering--just one way that mature people could shepherd others who are still early in their journeys. I like the way Bill McConnell expresses such offerings in his poem "Community Life."
Old trees, hospitable as small towns
no longer afraid that high water, fire
or some endemic blight
will shrivel early growth
but now satisfied
that more summers and winters
will not dislodge them,
landmarks, reference points, sanctuary--
to hearten pilgrims
whose songs still tremble, newborn.
hat tip: Lyric. Thank you.