Luke 2:22-40 NRSVue
22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(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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Some thoughts on this scripture
These verses tell us much about Jesus' family. He was born under the Jewish Law, and observed it. After eight days he was circumcised, the sign of the Covenant with God. Forty days after birth, his mother underwent purification in the Temple, and gave the offering -- a lamb for richer people, two pigeons for the poor.
Lord God, I often resent the law, and I often resent poverty. But I do not aim to be a law unto myself. I love your covenant. And poverty pinches less when it is shared with Jesus.
Simeon didn't seem to tire of his prayer life. Sometimes we feel in prayer as if we've said it all to God - our problems, sins, failings seem the same today as last year. We may feel God is tired of it all, tired of us. But Simeon didn't tire of praising and thanking. Maybe that's part of the prayer of old age and perhaps there are times when that is all God wants of us. A lot of prayer is letting the past go, whether it is only yesterday, a generation ago or almost a lifetime ago. The older years can bring us into the wider expanse of God's love and care over the years. Like Simeon we praise God's glory, like Anna we just look at Jesus and praise God. Maybe we can do that in prayer today, no matter what our age.
The Holy Spirit ‘rested on’ Simeon. Is my heart at peace and open, or am I so full of problems and requests that I have no resting space for the Spirit?
Simeon ‘praised God’. Praise is a particularly joyful form of prayer. There are so many things for which I can praise God, not least the wonder of my own being.