Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Presentation

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
"Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed-- and a sword will pierce your own soul too."
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:22-40

Today is the celebration of the presentation of Jesus in temple. For Americans, it is also Ground Hog Day. The ground hog saw his shadow so six more weeks of winter are predicted. For the parents who were just doing what was traditional,  they received great words of promise and amazing prophecies. The words they received affirmed what had been promised, solidified what they had hoped and yet they were still amazed. We are too, sometimes, amazed but what God has made real for us. When a glimmer of hope becomes a reality, when a hard life changes for the good, we finally have the affirmation we need. God wants us to know the affirmation, the promise has been there all along. And God, who promises good to the beloved, all the children, will surely bring it to fruition.

Today, I ask God to help me trust and be faithful every day, no matter how bleak things seem or how far off the promises might be. May we rejoice with Mary, Joseph, Simeon and Anna, as we see God's love and peace unfolding in our world. May we  not fear the challenges we face but cling to God's promises today.

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