Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.
Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
When they finished everything required by God in the Law, they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.
How often we have new babies in our arms, delicate, fragile and dependant. Most of the time we notice the eyes or the big smile of a child. When children are brought in to a group you spend more time watching them than talking or even watching the TV. Children, rightly so become the centre of attention, they become the focal point to any gathering.
This week we hear of the Christ child being brought to the temple to be presented. In the reading today Simeon will not notice the eyes or the smile of Jesus but he knows that he has met the Messiah. Simeon knows he has met the Son of God, he knows his life is complete. Simeon knows that this child will go on to do great things.
We must ask ourselves, do we recognise the goodness what Christ brings in to our life? Do we notice the saviour in the eyes of children whom we see every day? Do we have the same complete heart in the eyes of our saviour?
Sandy Fairley - School Chaplain
Thank you for sending your son Jesus to Earth as a child. Help and guide us as we follow his path during the year ahead.