I have been waiting.
I have been waiting so long I began to doubt this day would come.
I have wondered if I understood: maybe I didn’t hear what I thought I heard; maybe I’ve been presumptious;
perhaps in Sheol the Lord will show me the desire of women.
Still, I waited. I fasted, I prayed. The rabbis ignored me, the priests avoided me, the regulars nodded at me,
and it seemed endless, one day smearing into the next, did I sleep or merely drift off a little?
But this day I was unsettled.
Nothing was different. The same kinds of people came to make the same kinds of sacrifice, the money-changers
taking advantage as always. But then something was different, nothing I could see but something I could sense, almost
like an aroma wafting across the courtyard. I looked around. Nothing. I pivoted in place, scanning the human forms,
the patterns of movement, looking at the faces.
Then—wait, there, a man, his young wife, the baby boy, their sacrifice of two pigeons. Yes.
My heart grew large and my breath seemed to catch in my throat. I was walking toward them, faster and faster,
tottering a bit as I often do. They stopped—ah, Simeon! He used to be here as regular as sunrise but he thinned out,
transparent, like a rising mist. I am not surprised that He would tell Simeon too; it confirms the fact – we are two
I am there now, I can hear his papery voice as he speaks over the child, the mother lets him hold her precious
babe: “Lord, now let Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for my eyes have seen Thy salvation which
Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy
Yes! It explodes out of me, “Holy Thou art, Lord, and greatly to be praised!”
The woman turns her face to me, she is so young; her eyes are gleaming with unfallen tears and the baby is now
back in her arms and He looks at me, He sees me: those are not the eyes of a child only forty days upon the earth,
and like a wave the Presence ripples through me. Yes, yes, yes—this is that for which I have been spared, that
promise, that assurance He made me: He has not forgotten Israel.
I know I am babbling. The words spill out of me; I feel like an old wineskin bursting with new wine, but they must
know, they must be told: Messiah has come, we have not been forsaken.
The little family is moving away now, toward the priest, their little sacrifice in hand, their staggering gift in
her arms. I push through the flurry of activity, telling, touching, speaking: these people do not know, they don’t
know what just happened, who that baby boy is which has just moved through their midst, carried by a slip of a woman,
sheltered by a rough-hewn man—oh Lord, what are You about? What happens next?
I can no longer see them and the Presence gradually withdraws and I now notice the arms I am clenching, the
stranger and his children, mother and sisters close behind, “Yes, Grandmother, you are right: God is good and if
Messiah is here now, then soon Rome won’t be, eh, Judas? Something to talk about, when we get back to Kerioth,” and
he tousles the dark hair of his youngest son.