When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted. And you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. (Luke 2:22-40)
Today’s scripture is one that should be read and imagined as you ready it.
Think of all that is happening.
Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to present him to God. In the law of Moses, every first-born child had to be given over to God and placed in the Lord’s service. This was to show that every gift comes from God and every gift needs to be willing to be given back to God for his glory.
In the temple, they encounter Simeon and Anna.
God promised the righteous, devout Simeon the gift of sight: to see the Lord with his own eyes. This is the beatific vision that, God willing, we all will experience when we see God face-to-face in Heaven. Simeon wanted to see with his own eyes this light that would shine on all the nations. He longed for God to come, bringing his mercy, justice, and truth to the broken world.
Anna was an inspiring woman of heroic virtue. She was known as a prophetess, meaning she was also blessed with spiritual vision. She was married and widowed, then spent her life serving God in the temple, constantly worshiping, praying, fasting, and watching for the Messiah.
When she saw Jesus, she knew that it was the time of God’s visitation. When she encountered Jesus, she immediately assumed her prophetic role: “At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
Can you just imagine the feelings that they both had? They had spent most of their life waiting for this encounter. Now it was fulfilled. Think about that. Think if you had spent most of your life waiting for the most special person in your life and world. Now, you are given that person in person.
Presentation. Expectation, Fulfillment.
Presentation. Jesus is constantly being presented to us and we are supposed to be constantly presenting ourselves to him. The Christian life is meant to be a continuous mutual presentation, a lifetime encounter of love and life. Do any of us do that or does the daily routine, the vanities of the world get in the way?
Jesus Christ is right here. Right by our side. Waiting for us to notice him there. Isn’t that what every follower of Christ believes? To be in communion with God?
Expectation. Do we truly live every day of our lives in expectant hope that at the end of our life we will meet God face to face? Simeon and Anna were present in the temple differently from everyone else. They were waiting for the Lord in the temple.
Do we have this expectant confidence in the Lord? Do we live our lives in hope of encountering Jesus and let that hope illume our lives so others see him through us?
Fulfillment. The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life and happiness with our heavenly Father. The hope which God places within us through the gift of the Spirit enables us to persevere with confident trust in God even in the face of trials, setbacks, and challenges that may come our way.
Wherever we are in our lives, whatever our situation, Jesus Christ is there waiting to be presented to the world through us, fulfilling his promise of building His kingdom on earth, through us. You and I are messengers of his love.
I don’t know about you but it sure gives me goose bumps.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my life. May I never cease to place all my trust in you. Fill me with the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly point others to your saving presence and words of eternal life.”
He is the Light of the World. But, as he told us in the Sermon on the Mount, he also calls us to be the Light of the World. The way those two truths go together is that we are supposed to burning with his light. Just as we receive our light from Christ, who wants to make us candles, taking his light to the whole world, a world in which there often is so much darkness. He wants to make us his light and have us illumine others with the light of faith.