Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Presentation of Jesus

Luke 2:22-29   The Presentation in the Temple.22 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,23just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,”24and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.26It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.27He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,28he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:29“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word.

This weekend the Church celebrates Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus to the Lord.  Tradition dictated that the mother bring a first-born son to be dedicated in the Temple about 40 days after a child's birth.  And here we are, about 40 days out from our Christmas celebration!  A sacrifice was usually offered at that time as well (the Gospel of Luke refers to a pair of turtle doves or pigeons).  Simeon was  a holy man, who had been waiting for this moment - the long-awaited Messiah for Israel.  Luke tells us that at long last, he was ready to enter into everlasting life, he had held the Messiah in his own arms!
By the 11th century a custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on this feast day.  A procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung.  This was referred to as Candlemas.  This is still an important feast in many European countries.
When a person thinks of those who have committed their lives to God, often what comes to mind are priests, nuns, missionaries, theologians.  As Christians, aren't we ALL called to dedicate our life to God's service?  No matter what our profession in life - teacher, parent, mechanic, farmer, student - we can dedicate what we do to the Glory of God.  Think about where your day takes what ways do you honor God - that makes your Christian faith evident?  I'm not talking about elaborate speeches or huge donations.  It could be as simple as a hug for a crying child, a smile to a co-worker who is feeling down, a compliment to a spouse.  Sometimes it's the little things that speak volumes when it comes to who we really are - or show what we really believe in our heart.

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin