Simeon’s Gift

by Clifford Biel

Old Bob the Preacher,
when he was young,
Learned from the song
old Simeon had sung:
His “Nunc Dimittas”
bannered a long, patient wait,
‘Til the Spirit showed him Jesus,
at the Temple Gate.

When he was young,
Old Bob saw examples
Of people whose troubles
left their lives in shambles;
Yet they like Simeon
held to one shining prize:
One day they’d see Jesus
with their very own eyes.

Now Bob has troubles
that all hope smothers,
Except it’s now his,
what he once saw in others.
Simeon held Jesus,
then passed him along,
And Old Bob now holds him,
and sings his love song.

The poem was inspired by Rev. Robert Arneson a retired ELCA pastor, who passed away in 2005. Bob served most of his ministry in small, low-paying churches in west-central Wisconsin. In retirement he lived on Social Security and a small pension. A series of cancers, arthritis, small strokes and osteoporosis left him weak and disabled, and the lonely last three years of his life were spent in a questionable nursing home and were tortuous. For Bob’s last Christmas, Clifford researched sermons Bob had written in the 1950s in order to write on his behalf to his few remaining acquaintances and relatives. These reflected Bob’s high regard for old Simeon and Anna, and the faith by which they waited patiently for the Lord’s salvation.