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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 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. (NRSV)

Reflection
After Jesus was circumcised, Joseph and Mary took him to the temple to be presented to the Lord. Simeon, a righteous man, was being ministered to by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he saw the promised Messiah. When Simeon went into the temple and saw the baby Jesus, he praised God, knowing that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Simeon spoke of Jesus as a “light for the Gentiles and glory for the people of Israel.” Anna, a prophet who stayed in the temple worshiping God, bore witness to the words prophesied by Simeon for the redemption of Israel.

In my family we grew up talking about God and faith—and attending church weekly if not more often. Growing up we would gather in our living room telling different stories in the Bible. The story about the birth of Jesus was often told. As I’ve grown spiritually, I have a deeper understanding of faith, allowing God to direct my path.
 
Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the birth of your Son, Jesus, and through him, salvation. Continue to draw me close to you. Amen.

Written by Arlene Raine, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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