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Presentation of Christ



Have you ever had that feeling when you’re in a queue and it just seems to go on and on and never feels as if it’s moving? The longest queue I ever stood in was to get into the Palace of Versailles. For several hours I stood there. One of the lovely things about such a long queue was meeting other people. There was definitely a sense of community there. And after many hours, the tired legs were forgotten as the Palace opened up before me and the rest of the day was spent in blissful sightseeing. The wait had been worth it.

Waiting is at the heart of the gospel. As we journeyed through  the days of Advent and Christmas we have seen people waiting and hoping for a much longed for Messiah. The great saviour who would come and bring with him the possibility of life and light and an end to a world that was full of far too much oppression and inequality. You may have heard the stories of individuals who had given their lives in believing that God’s promises would always be true and that in time God’s kingdom would become a reality.

It is no surprise then that we come to the climax of our of celebrations of the Incarnation, of God with us, with yet more clear examples of what it is to be a faithful and patient follower of God and God’s kingdom.

Simeon and Anna are incredible people who are portrayed as giving their lives to waiting for God’s promises to become real; for that moment when they can share in the liberation of all of God’s people. A people who have known what it is to live lives enslaved to human authority and power. And their response to such life-sapping conditions is to come and watch and wait in a place where God feels real and present. The Temple had drawn them in, and they come in hope and anticipation of peace that is greater than all that they have experienced so far.

Simeon’s encounter of the Christ child in his parents’ arms is powerful and moving. His life feels complete with the realisation that he has seen the hope, not only of Israel, but of the whole world. This encounter with the Messiah is surely more than he could have ever hoped for. All of that waiting and hoping has come to this moment, so it is no surprise that Simeon feels that his work on this earth is done. His personal song, the Nunc Dimittis, is said with feeling and has been used ever since at the funeral services of many faithful disciples of Jesus. If you spend your life watching and waiting on God, for those glimpses of God with us, you too may have a Simeon moment, and will be fulfilled knowing that you have been in the very presence of God. And you might even feel that same sense of peace that Simeon did, and know that when you come to the end of your earthly life that God’s promises are true, that God has always been with you and that you have been truly blessed into the life that comes.

Anna doesn’t get a song for herself but she has inspired followers and those who wait on God for centuries. Anna gives most of her life to worshipping and praising God in the Temple, watching and waiting, year after year. Anna’s faithful life speaks of worship and praise and sacrifice. Anna, widowed so young, could have done many things out in the community, but she is called to be where she is, faithfully waiting. Her joy at seeing the Christ child is the joy of a woman who knows that her personal waiting is over and that this is the moment when the story of God’s peace and hope for all humanity is as real as it ever will be. Anna’s response to the end of her waiting is pure praise and joy and of telling the story of God. Who wouldn’t be inspired in her presence? Who wouldn’t feel as if the wait had been worth it?

Simeon and Anna, through their faithful waiting, have created a community of waiting that you are invited to join. You are invited to share in the journey of a people that long for God’s kingdom to be seen and known in our time, in each and everyone’s hearts. As we come to the end of our celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany, and as the cross of Jesus’ passion and death loom in the distance, maybe this is the right time for you to find the space to do your own waiting on God, in prayer or worship. Not knowing what might happen, but confident that God is with you, and that waiting on God, as Simeon and Anna have shown, is always worthwhile, however long it takes.


  • How have you been inspired by the examples of Simeon and Anna?
  • What opportunities will you have this week for faithful waiting on God?
Page last updated: Tuesday 17th January 2023 9:48 AM
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