We held Simeon Karl for about 12 hours. He was born on May 11, 2010 at 3:56 AM. He was reborn in Holy Baptism a minute later. And on May 12, 2010 his body died. We found out on April 22nd that Simeon had suffered major brain damage due to blood leaking into his brain from a broken blood vessel. All the doctors and specialists told us not to expect him to live very long. However, God preserved Simeon’s life until after he was born and He took Simeon peacefully from our arms. As hard as all of this was, the Lord was gracious to us.
That night as we lay in bed, guilt was a dominating feeling; guilt because I had taken God’s gift of life for granted. I figured that since our last child was healthy, Simeon would be too. So Simeon did not occupy my thoughts and prayers regularly. I was caught neglecting my role as his father and spiritual guardian. I had been failing my son.
I heard my Savior speak to me that night through the voice of my wife as she told me that God had forgiven me and I felt a great relief. I knew my sins were forgiven, just as surely as I knew Simeon’s were forgiven. From that day on, while my son was still alive, I spoke to him directly while he was still in the womb and told him about his Savior, we sang hymns to him, we prayed for him constantly, and thought about him often.
I desired that no parent should have to suffer with the guilt that I suffered. From this thought stemmed an idea to develop materials that would help parents easily access the treasures and promises of God’s Word and teach them to their children, especially those treasures and promises found in Luther’s Small Catechism. What has resulted is the formation of Simeon’s memorial called According to Your Word.
These words come from the Song of Simeon known as the Nunc Dimittis. We had decided on the name Simeon weeks before we found out about his condition. The Lord had promised the biblical Simeon that he would not die until he had seen his Savior. Simeon sang this song after he had seen the Christ Child in the temple at Jesus’ presentation (Luke 2:25-32). His name was so fitting since our Simeon, too, had “seen” his Savior in Holy Baptism before he departed in peace.
These words now remind us that we cling to God’s promises of His grace and mercy upon us through faith in Christ Jesus, which faith comes from His true and faithful Word.
In our crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ,
Rev. Samuel and Anna Gullixson