When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required (in the temple), Simeon took him in his arms and praised God. Luke 2: 27 – 28
Coming up to them at that very moment, she (Anna) gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 38
It’s the Sunday before Christmas and anticipation is in the air of what is to come! We have been waiting for this special day to celebrate the birth of Christ with our family and friends.
As the Christmas story unfolds and we try to imagine all that took place, there are two characters that we read about in Luke that we probably aren’t as familiar with. We may not find them in a Christmas play or see them pictured on any Christmas card we might receive, but what lessons they can teach us about trusting in God’s promises to us.
In Luke 2: 22, we read that according to the Law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem when He was 40 days old to be dedicated to God. While there, they met two elderly individuals who had been waiting patiently for this event in time on God’s eternal calendar.
One was Simeon, believed to be a priest, and the other, a woman named Anna, who is referred to as being a prophetess. Both had been waiting for many years with hope, anticipation, and expectation of God’s promise of a Messiah who would come to change the world with His redeeming grace.
Simeon was known as righteous before men and devout in His relationship with God. He was troubled by the conditions that the people of Israel were living under with Roman rule and knew that many were questioning whether the Messiah would ever come. But Simeon eagerly awaited His arrival on faith, for Scripture tells us that it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Savior, and He believed and trusted in God’s promises.
On the particular day when Mary and Joseph brought the 6 week old infant to be dedicated, Simeon was in the temple courts. When he saw the Christ child, he knew that God had kept His promise. He believed that this child truly was Immanuel, “God is with us”, and that He would make all things right in the world. He was comforted by His presence and finally felt peace in His heart.
Simeon lovingly reached down, took the baby out of Mary’s arms, began to praise God for sending the One that he had been waiting for, and blessed these parents. We can only imagine how Mary and Joseph felt as we read that they “marveled at what he said about Him.”
Then soon Anna appeared and believed as Simeon had. At the age of 84, she also was known for her devout faith in God. We are told that after her husband’s death, she remained in the temple, worshiping day and night, fasting and praying. And when she saw the Christ child, she immediately knew that He was the Messiah, She felt that at last the Savior had come with His saving grace, and she gave thanks to God and spoke to all who would listen about what His coming would mean to the world.
What a story of these two faithful believers. They had waited patiently on God with absolute trust, and God kept His promises. He sent His Son to them, and just as Jesus, our Savior and Lord, came to Simeon and Anna, He comes to us. We can trust and believe in Him. He lives in our hearts and we can rest in the assurance of His love and presence with us now and forevermore.
This Christmas, may His light shine in us as we show the world the love, hope, and joy He can bring to our lives.
Our most loving Father, we thank you for this Christmas season and for the gift of your Son. May we anticipate and marvel at His coming over and over again as we celebrate His birth and may we share with others the good news of His love and presence with us. Amen
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