23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Today is forty days since we celebrated Christmas and so we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple at the prescribed time following the birth of a son and made their offering – the offering of a poor family. There were two people in the temple at the time, Simeon and Anna. Both are described as both old and devout Jews who had been waiting and hoping for the birth of the Messiah. Both recognized that Jesus was the One.
Sometimes I like to imagine that there were times like these where people were present at the event but blind to its meaning. Would I have recognized Jesus? I have traveled with so many men, women and children who chose to become Christian, I wonder if I would have had the courage to believe if I had not been born into our faith.
Simeon was ready to die now that he had seen the Messiah. Anna gave thanks to God for sending the one who would redeem his people. Do we take God’s presence for granted? Is Jesus just the baby at Christmas and the empty tomb at Easter, a reason for families to get together for feasting and celebrating? Do we – do I – feel that my life is complete now that I know Jesus? Does having Jesus in my life fulfill me?
To be honest, I don’t reflect upon it enough. In times of difficulty, I ask Jesus to walk beside me and help me to carry my burden. Most of the time, I remember to thank him for being there. But there are times when I forget. It is easy to look for other ways of being fulfilled and many have turned to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other forms of pleasure instead of allowing Jesus to fill their hearts so that nothing else is needed.
May you and I be more like Simeon and Anna!
Lord, you came so that we could have life abundantly. Please give me the grace to recognize you every moment of every day of my life. Amen.