An often overlooked portion of Luke 2 features two “seasoned” Christians. Anna was 84 or had been a widow for 84 years – the original text isn’t quite clear. Simeon is near the end of his life.
But what a blessing for them to see and hold the Christchild when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to dedicate him to the Lord per Jewish custom. Simeon and Anna knew the Old Testament Scriptures, they knew all of God’s promises. But they got to see Jesus with their own eyes and in Simeon’s case at least, to hold the Son of God in his arms.
They respond with praise – Simeon with what we’ve come to know as the Song of Simeon. Anna’s words aren’t recorded, but she spoke about the child to all who were there.
What a blessing for us to see such seasoned saints rejoice in Jesus. Can we follow their lead during these early days of the New Year, really, all the time? They were righteous and devout, they didn’t just talk about their faith, they lived it. They loved God’s Word, loved God’s house. I can’t imagine them saying, “Yeah, I really do need to get back to church some time. I so miss the Word of God. I think I need to get back into it. But first I need to stream this Harry and Meghan Netflix series and then maybe the Dahmer series.” Nope, not even. They also loved to tell others about Jesus.
This is a preferred activity, really, a priority for us today and every day. It’s good for us to keep our eyes open for opportunities to receive and share the Good news. Consider Simeon and Anna…
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the comfort of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, 28 Simeon took him into his arms and praised God. He said,
29 Lord, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to
30 because my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared before the face of all people,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your
33 Joseph and the child’s mother were amazed at the things that were spoken about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Listen carefully, this child is appointed for the falling and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 Anna, a prophetess, was there. She was a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old. She had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 and then she was a widow of eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple complex, since she was worshipping with fasting and prayers night and day. 38 Standing nearby at that very hour, she gave thanks to the Lord. She kept speaking about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When they had accomplished everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town, Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
God’s richest blessing to you and yours in this New Year!
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand