Thursday: December 26      

Luke 2:21-40

After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they 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.

 

from Judy Bennett, Island Christian Church, Wheeling

            I don’t wait well.  I am impatient to a fault.  I don’t like waiting in line, nor waiting in traffic, nor waiting for someone who’s late in showing up.  And when you get right down to it, I sometimes find it hardest of all to wait for God.  When I’m in fervent prayer for something, I know that God will show up in God’s time, but sometimes I just wish God’s timing were more like mine.

Simeon and Anna were two aging Jews clinging tightly to hope – the hope that God would come in power and save God’s people.  While they waited and hoped, they didn’t sit idly by, but continued serving God as they could.  Their service kept them in tune and able to recognize God’s arrival – even when it certainly wasn’t what they expected, and indeed arrived as a baby in arms – a baby who they called Jesus.

May this Advent season find us hopefully waiting, serving, and ready to recognize every gift of God being sent our way.

God of light and love, may this time of our waiting be full of hope that we may see your salvation anew,

as once again you revive us with your presence.

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