The time has passed so quickly from Christmas to today, the 2nd of January, 2016. We have listened to, played and sung Christmas carols until some of us may be sick of them.
We have heard the Nativity story over and over again in different ways.
Jesus was born.
The shepherds came.
The angels sang.
Wise men saw the star and began their journey from afar.
What of the new babe? What has happened to the rest of his story beyond Christmas day? We celebrate Epiphany and the wise men’s gifts and their worship.
But what about the following? I think this story gets missed within the Nativity and the wise men…
“Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived (Matt 1:21). Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the LORD” (Ex 13:3). So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord- “either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Lev 12:8).
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God saying, ‘Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel.'” (Luke 2:21-32)
Simeon blessed baby Jesus on the day He was circumcised and presented in the temple. Simeon waited a very long time for this glorious day. The Holy Spirit promised Simeon he would see the Messiah before he died. We know Simeon was older. I am sure the weeks, months, and even years went by fast but at the same time so slow for Simeon. What joy filled his heart when the promise of God came true.
Simeon knew Jesus was the chosen one. He was to be the Saviour of the world. Simeon prophesied over Jesus and told Mary many will oppose Jesus and the deepest thoughts of many will be revealed (Luke 2:34). He then told her a sword will pierce your very soul (v 35).
There was a prophetess there in the Temple at the same time. Her name was Anna. She lived in the temple since her husband died. She never left there and worshipped God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph and when she saw Jesus she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who waited expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-40).
God was faithful to Simeon and to everyone there who waited for news of the Messiah. He did not break his promise. Yes, it was an important day for Mary, Joseph and Jesus as Jesus was presented in the temple and given his name. It was an important day as well for Simeon and Anna.
We went through the waiting period of Advent for Christ’s birth. Now we are in the waiting period for the return of Christ. Maybe some of us are waiting for healing, financial breakthroughs, a loved one to be saved, good news, and/or answers to prayers we have been praying for for so long. God never breaks his promises. As he was faithful to Simeon, Anna and to the world as a whole, he will be faithful to us.
Keep holding on to faith. Reflect on the Christ-child. He is our hope. He is our Messiah. He is the fulfillment of God’s faithfulness to us.
Lord, time seems to go by so quickly, yet when we are waiting for something, it drags its heels. We become anxious and take our eyes off of you as we get tired of waiting. Help us to stay faithful to you. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for fulfilling your promises. You are wonderful and we love you. Help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. Amen.