Praying for this to be a wonderful season for you with family and friends. As believers, we can celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
This week’s blog starts with a long scripture from the gospel of Luke about Simeon and Anna meeting the baby Jesus. I could not come up with a way to shorten it so I hope you enjoy the scripture and the commentary that follows.
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”, and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Luke 2: 22-40 (NIV)
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Hindsight is 20:20, right?
It is easy for us to judge the Pharisees, Seducees and most of the rest of Israel for not recognizing the signs that the Messiah had arrived. But thanks for the close relationship Simeon and Anna had with God, their eyes were open and they were Holy Spirit-led to Jesus in the temple.
Both of them were blessed by being in the presence of the Lord.
As we continue our commitment to seek God through reading His word, praying and fellowshipping, we can also experience the blessing of the presence of the Lord.
And, of course, the greatest gift we can give to others this Christmas is the gift of salvation and the love of Jesus. Whether we’re talking to shopkeepers, cashiers, waiters, neighbors, family … whoever. May each of us carry in our hearts the peace that only comes from Him who was born in this season and who would later sacrifice Himself for us.