The Eve of the Presentation Also Known as Candlemas

Another timely and thoughtful post from the Reverend Emily Hylden and the folks at the Living Church.

Detail from the reredos in the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC., image via Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P./Flickr

Feast of the Presentation
Daily Devotional • February 2
By Pam Boston

We talked about this part of Jesus’ life in Sunday School.  I asked whether they thought the words of Simeon and Anna would make a difference to Jesus or Mary or Joseph.  They all agreed that Jesus was too small to know what was going on.  One girl pointed out that Jesus would probably hear about it growing up; a family story re-told again and again.

What about Mary?  What about Joseph?  Most agreed that both were probably surprised.  Sarah pointed out that because of what happened with the angels and the shepherds, Mary & Joseph “may have been surprised, but not really.”  Simeon and Anna would simply back up what they had been told – just another confirmation.  The children all nodded.

I was surprised by their curiosity about Simeon and Anna as people.  They asked so many questions.  When I asked what a difference it would make in the lives of Simeon and Anna, they decided “joy” was probably the biggest emotion.  “Relief” was also mentioned.  Then we got down to Tielar’s question:  “But Jesus was just a baby!  How did they know?”  Without hesitation, her older brother Miric answered, “Simple…God told them.”  After the initial “Oh!” that was enough for the rest of the class.

I was filled with envy.  How often do I want proof?  These children didn’t need proof.  They thought it was wonderful that God would be so good to Mary, Joseph, Simeon and Anna.  The children simply saw God giving lovely gifts to four people, being involved in their lives, and caring about what they wanted most.

As so often happens, the teacher learned from the children.

 

Luke 2:22-40

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25Now 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. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided 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, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then 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 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36There 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, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At 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. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 

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