Daily Worship

The prophets have the last word

December 26, 2020 1
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Image credit: Dumbell Nebula, Allan Vint

Luke 2: 21-38 (NIVUK)

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons’.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.’

33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

It is good to give thanks. Mary and Joseph marked their personal thanksgiving for the safe arrival of their child by going to the temple and following ancient traditions that highlighted this child’s place within the Jewish community of faith. These traditions pointed towards the special covenant relationship which exists between God and his people.

As Luke relates this account to us he tells of an encounter this new family has with Simeon and Anna. Both had been waiting a long time to see God’s anticipated Messiah, both were steadfast in their conviction that God’s message to them would be fulfilled and though the years rolled past still they patiently prayed and waited.

It was a wait richly rewarded with a personal meeting with the infant saviour. Their individual response was to join in the sense of celebration. God was, and is, faithful. They had known it first-hand.

Their experience is a reminder to us all that God is always dependable.
We began this week by gazing heavenward; perhaps as we conclude this section of reflections, we might continue to be on the lookout, in every direction, for God’s work and wonder. His glory is undoubtedly to be found all around us, in both obvious and in not so obvious places. And even though we now live ourselves in a time of waiting for the Lord’s return, let us hold fast to the knowledge that He never disappoints. He will yet return.  Meantime let us continue to give thanks and rejoice knowing that in Jesus we too remain in a special relationship with our God. 

PRAYER:

Lord, we do give thanks for your wonderful gift of love to the world.
Today we celebrate your faithfulness and your goodness to us.
Help us to know the joy of being counted in the family of faith through Jesus.
And Lord while we wait his coming again, may we continue to marvel and give thanks for your ceaseless activity around us. Amen.