In a culture that has made efficiency a moral requirement and credit-card purchasing a way of life, delays are frustrating. Instant messaging, fast food meals and express deliveries reinforce a sense that waiting for almost anything is a waste of our time and a poor use of our gifts and resources. Orienting our lives around long-term commitments seems particularly risky and unnecessarily constraining. Accounts of fidelity under challenging circumstances puzzle us nearly as often as they inspire us.
In this context, it is difficult to make sense of the stories of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. They seem so foreign to contemporary notions of lives well lived. Two people, at this point quite elderly, have spent inordinate amounts of time waiting, faithfully looking for the fulfillment of a single promise.