December 20, 2006

Christmas Poems, Part 3

Simeon: There’s Always Wheat among the Tares
Inspired by the story of Simeon in Luke 2:25-35
Dedicated to Sherman Cating

Young Mary bounced along the trail,
And as she walked she did not fail
To ask her Papa many things—
“Where do the blue jays get their wings?
Why are the clouds so fluffy white?
When will the city be in sight?”
“You have so many questions dear—
Jerusalem is very near.
We’ll be there in one half an hour.
Just look out for the watchman’s tower.
And then we’ll reach those ancient walls
That wrap around the temples halls—
The home of Him who makes birds fly
And paints His clouds upon the sky.
We’ll see the priests parade around
With pomp and might and flowing gowns;
But also peasants in their prayers.
There’s always wheat among the tares.”
“What does that mean, Papa?” she said.
“I thought that wheat was used for bread?”
“That is a happy question dear.
I think it’s time for you to hear
How God ensures that there will be
A remnant who lives faithfully.
When all the world is doomed to hell,
God keeps a few who serve Him well.
Great-grandpa Sim was such a man.
Perhaps He’ll help you understand.

“Great-grandpa grew up in an age
When all the wisdom of the sage
Was ‘Work, work, work, with all your might,
And God will count your deeds as right’—
When all the boys went off to schools
And learned to think their fathers fools
For waiting on the LORD to send
A Savior for the nation’s sins.
But what a mercy from the LORD—
Great-grandpa Sim could not afford
To leave His father’s shop and tools
To go be ruined in the schools!
But zealous as he was to learn,
He let his midnight candles burn
So he could stay up late and read
Of all the rules that he must heed.
But as he read he did not find
A God so cruel and so unkind—
But One who understood our frame,
A God who knew us all by name
And loved us even though we’d sinned
And promised all our griefs to mend.
He learned that life was not a fight
To try and do ev’rything right.
Instead He found in God’s great grace
A sweet and quiet resting place.

“So papa, what was His reward
For trusting only in the LORD?
Did God make him a famous man?”
“No dear, God had a better plan.
God gave great-grandpa two rewards:
First, He chose him above the lords,
And priests, and yes, above the king
To be part of the inner ring
Who’d see God’s great Messiah first—
Who came to free us from the curse.
He told Him he would rest his eye
On God’s anointed e’re he died.”
“And did God keep His promise?” “Yes.
But not in ways that you might guess.
God led him to the Temple gate—
but not to see some head of state,
And not to see a rebel wild,
But to behold a little child.”
I know it seems a little odd—
It doesn’t seem like mighty God
would pin our hope of future joy
on just a helpless baby boy—
But Mary, when our faith is right
God will not let us walk by sight.
My child, if we wish to be wise,
We’ll have more of great-grandpa’s eyes”

“And as for his other reward,
Hear what great-grandpa told the LORD
That day inside the temple’s gate:
LORD, you no longer have to wait.
Release your bond-servant in peace—
I’m ready for the wedding feast!
The faith has fin’lly come to sight
I’m holding in my arm the light
Chosen to save the Gentile race
And restore Israel to her place.
I’ve kissed the hand of God most high.
And I am not afraid to die

“Papa, your story’s not complete.
What’s all this got to do with wheat?”

Her Papa sighed, and then he smiled—
Such questions from a little child!
“Great grandpa’s day was like a field
Which gave a weak and sickly yield.
The crops were overrun with weeds—
those men relying on good deeds.
But grandpa Sim knew He was dust
And in God only did he trust.
And so I say he was like wheat
Which, when it’s rare, is doubly sweet!”

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