Simeon and Anna Meet Jesus

That first week was like a dream. Both Mary and I were so overwhelmed with joy and our hearts were filled to overflowing. The Lord had shown us great mercy and blessed us with a healthy baby boy. In keeping with our Jewish traditions, our son was circumcised after eight days and we officially declared his name to be Jesus. This was the name given to us both, on separate occasions, when the Lord’s messenger appeared first to Mary and then later to me.

Following this, as required by the Law of Moses, Mary had to observe thirty-three days of ceremonial purification. Once this was completed, we both traveled to Jerusalem so that we could present our first-born son to the Lord. This we did to fulfill our sacred obligation, as commanded by God through Moses.

Set apart all of the firstborn and dedicate them to Me. The first male offspring—both human and animal—that opens the womb among the people of Israel belongs to me.

We also offered the prescribed sacrifice. Seeing as how we were poor, we were only required to present two turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Whilst we were inside the temple complex, we were approached by an elderly man called Simeon. He was known as a righteous and devout man, who was eagerly waiting for the promised Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Spirit of God had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One. In fact, it was the Spirit who had compelled him to come to the temple on the very same day that we were there.

As he approached us, we could see the joy on his face. He reached out and took our son into his arms and as he held him, he praised God…

Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.

Mary and I were stunned by his words. Simeon then spoke a blessing over both of us, but to Mary he spoke these words…

Listen, this child will make many in Israel rise and fall. He will be a significant person whom many will oppose. In the end, He will lay bare the secret thoughts of many hearts. And a sword will pierce even your own soul, Mary.

His words were still echoing in our ears when a prophetess from the temple came up to us. Her name was Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. Apparently, she had only been married for seven years before her husband died and from that point on she had remained a widow. She was now eighty-four years old.

Like Simeon, she was deeply devoted to the Lord, spending all her time at the temple praying and fasting. As she came close to us, she began to speak out words of thanks to God. This she continued to do, spreading the word about Jesus to all those who shared her hope for the rescue of Jerusalem.

Take a moment to reflect on the story you have just read.
(sometimes it is helpful to read it again, slowly)

*Was there something in this story that you discovered—or thought about—for the first time?
*As you think about the story, what questions do you have? What do you wonder about?
*How might this story change your perspective / beliefs / behaviors?

I would love to hear what you are discovering as you think through these questions.
Comments are moderated to ensure they are relevant to the story and questions above.

~ Christmas Story Collection ~

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