Advent Readings Day 24
Reading: Luke 2:22 – 40
“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.’” Luke 2:29 – 32
As we approach Christmas Day, we turn to one of the most surprising (and one of my favorite) images in the whole Bible as we see Jesus presented by Mary and Joseph in the temple. There are several reasons that make it my favorite.
For one, this passage shows me the extent of Jesus becoming human and taking on our sufferings, our struggles and our flesh. Imagine, The Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world was about to be dedicated in the temple and Mary and Joseph only had enough to make the offering of the poor on His behalf. There’s no fanfare and no ram. Just a couple of doves or pigeons, which was the provision if a person could not afford a ram. That’s all they have to offer. Jesus is fully consecrated to God with the offering given by the poor. I think that says so much for where we find ourselves today. He identified with the poor in this offering. And He identified with you and I. In our quest for greatness and having nothing but the best, may we be mindful that Jesus was consecrated with the offering of the poor. The King of Kings once again humbled Himself.
Second are the two faithful people who have longed for this day to come. My heart prayer is that someday I could be like Simeon. Someone who has kept the faith and kept on looking for the fullness of all that God wants to do into my old age. A wise old man. A man who had held onto a promise that he would see The Messiah before he died. He woke up that morning and the Scripture tells us He was moved by The Spirit to go to the Temple to see what God would do. Even after all of that waiting, he is still soft and available to The Spirit’s prompting. And then as he is praying it is as if a window into the future opens to express the arrival of The Savior of the World. How amazing that a dedicated servant can now die in peace, knowing that He played His part in the redemption of the world.
And then there is Anna. Anna who after her husband had widowed her decades before has come to the temple to fast and pray that God would have His way. I’ve known widows like her and my belief is that they are the backbone of The Church. Watching and praying and fasting and watching and praying and fasting and watching and praying and fasting. What does she do when she sees Jesus? She praises God and speaks prophetically about who He is to those who were looking for redemption. Look! Redemption is here. He has arrived in this little package. How sweet it must be to come to the end of your life and see the redemption you have prayed for right in front of you.
What does this mean for you and I? We get to continue in the long history of saints who have laid down their wills to take up God’s Kingdom desires. You and I get to join with those who have humbled themselves and chosen discipline in following Jesus as the way to True Life. Today we move away from a season dedicated to celebrating Jesus’ coming. May we do so with Simeon’s words on our lips, understanding that everyday is an opportunity to celebrate Emmanuel, God with us and to look forward to His return.
Much Grace and Peace to you in this new year.