Simeon Praises the Lord
22 The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born.
They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, 23 just as the Law of the Lord says, “Each first-born baby boy belongs to the Lord.” 24 The Law of the Lord also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did.
34 Then he blessed them and told Mary, “This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, 35 and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking.”
Anna Speaks about the Child Jesus
36 The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband died. 37 And now she was eighty-four years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating.
38 At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free.
Following on from Simeon’s wonderful song of fulfilment and prophecy of all Jesus would do and be, we now hit upon the hard truth. Jesus is going to be divisive, he’s going to be rejected – life as a mother is not going to be a wonderful experience for Mary, but a painful one. Not quite the ‘Congratulations on the birth of your new baby’, ‘may their life ahead be wonderful’ type greeting that we’re used to. This must have been quite a shock to Mary, though I guess by now, she was beginning to realize… One more thing to add to her ponderings.
There can be a cost to having Jesus in your life – watching whilst others reject him, seeing the divisions that can be created when people start to think about him, journeying with him to the cross.
And then comes Anna. She spent her days in The Temple, praying and serving God. She too recognizes Jesus, she knows he is The One. This is the one who will set them free – and she told everyone about it.
This baby, this ordinary baby, was going to make the whole world of difference. The picture begins to unfold. Through Mary, Joseph, shepherds, magi and two faithful old people, God’s story is being recognized and revealed. As Maggi points out (p152), all different kinds of people.
Jesus is not just for one strata of society. He is for unprepared young women, wronged men, those who live on the edges of society, rich and important people, and faithful men and women who have watched and waited their whole lives. For the ready and the surprised; those who think they are worthy and those who are sure they aren’t; those on the periphery and those in the centre of life; for those who are longing and waiting and those who have no idea…
God is for me and for you.
And as we recognize that, we too are invited on the journey, to make a decision and to share with others what we have discovered. It may not always be an easy journey – but it is the path of hope to freedom.
Thank you Lord
that your hope,
is for all people.
That no one is any more,
At your birth
all kinds of people were
– and continue to be today.
Though following you
has it’s hard and painful times,
you take us
Lord, may my eyes see
and my life follow
What My Eyes Have Seen
This year, several of us are reading Beginnings and Endings by Maggi Dawn and joining together to comment on it. Do join us at the Adventbookclub Facebook page, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter or comment below. If you are also reading and blogging on this book, let me know and I will link to your blog.