The People Around You

Today’s Reading : Luke 2:21-52

Joy. Excitement. Hope.

He is finally here. Christ has been born. Unlike with toys and games, when we have a new baby, joy and the excitement has only begun. On the third or fifth or seventh day after you receive your games and toys: Sometimes the batteries are broken, or we lost a piece of toy, or we just have play with us so much that we cannot enjoy it anymore. But with Christ and the news of his appearance, we get energized at each moment that we have with him. This energy does not stop, but it multiplies as we continue to have a relationship with him.

As we complete the Advent season and going into Christmastide, we have several more weeks of the season of joy and hope and wonderment.  In this passage, we see the perspectives of four different individuals. Individuals that we have here are: Mary, Joseph, Simmons, and Anna. Each of these individuals have a different perspective on this new child that has come into the world.

Luke 2:25-38 (MSG)

25-32 In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;

    release me in peace as you promised.

With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;

    it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:

A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,

    and of glory for your people Israel.

33-35 Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,

This child marks both the failure and

    the recovery of many in Israel,

A figure misunderstood and contradicted—

    the pain of a sword-thrust through you—

But the rejection will force honesty,

    as God reveals who they really are.

36-38 Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.

Mary has the perspective of a new life, and a new beginning for her and the salvation of the world. She has known since the conception that Jesus was part of the new covenant to change the world. But you also know that he will be a part of her. He would be an extension of God into the world.

Joseph is an amazing person. One of the gifts that I received this advent season was a deeper understanding of the person Joseph. Joseph was a role model for all men.  He embodies compassion, love, support, caring, understanding, and rising above the occasion. After reviewing this passage, I had the realization that Joseph actually delivered Jesus. Joseph was the one who coached Mary through the pregnancy and the labor and actually delivered Jesus into the world. In my 40 Christmases this was profound for me. Joseph didn’t ask for any acknowledgment or gratitude, but he performed his role in his responsibilities with the greatest care.

Simeon is vital in this story as well. Simeon shows how to be patient and find comfort in the promise that God has given us. Simeon shows us how to acknowledge our frailty and wait with expectation of something new or something exciting that God has promised us. Simeon show us how to be faithful to God through all of his promises.

Anna, shows us that despite the changes in our life, God will supply everything that we need. No matter what the circumstances are: we can have wealth, or poverty, sickness, health, despair, joy, but in all of these things, God will be there with us from young age until our old age.

As we celebrate this Christmas season for the next several weeks, can we all observe ourselves and the  different people in our lives?  How has God placed them in our lives and can we see a little bit extra in them. Can we see the promises and the blessings that God has installed upon them? Can we acknowledge it ourselves that God has something in store for us that we may not be aware of but we are there for his purpose?

Continue to be blessed this week and weeks to come.