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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Today’s 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)

Waiting can be a hard thing to do, especially for me. I think about the prophet Simeon here. It was revealed to him through the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Messiah. He had to trust that the Lord’s promise would come. “For my eyes have seen your salvation!” How lucky we are that we have assurance knowing Christ came, walked the earth, and was among us!

In this season of Lent, this passage makes me stop and appreciate how lucky I am that God blessed us all with his only Son, who freed each of us from our sins. We live in a time where we need not question when the Messiah will come and walk the earth and save us—it has happened! The groundwork has been laid. I think about what Simeon must have felt holding Christ in his arms knowing the good to come for so many.

God continues to promise us so much. This passage is a reminder of the endless blessings awaiting each of us if we just wait.

Lord, this day you have given me right now is a gift. Your love is vast and your Son Jesus is an example to me of all that you have promised. Help me to believe in your love right now, to trust in the glory of what is to come, and to rejoice in the present gift you have given. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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