The Presentation of Christ

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Simeon and Anna. What heroes of the faith they are! Their roles in the gospel are walk on parts, cameos, a few short verses, but I think we can learn so much from them. Two faithful elderly people of God, watching and waiting, purposeful and perceptive, wise and wrinkly, prayerful and prophetic, generous and gentle. People to emulate.

We consider these two wonderful people every year at Candlemas, this moment at the end of the season of epiphany, when we remember Jesus being brought into the temple, as was the Jewish custom, to be presented to God.  For the people of God, kingdom people, there are no age barriers, the youngest children are brought to worship, and the oldest members of the worshipping community are the ones who welcome them, truly intergenerational.

So Jesus is brought into the temple by his parents, and these two striking encounters take place.  Somehow these two people, Simeon and Anna, knew that this child was different from all the others, and there would have been many. This was the one they had waited for.

Simeon & Anna were watching and waiting

Simeon was someone who listened to God, he watched, observed, had his spiritual eyes open.  This was his usual practice, not just this day.  The Holy Spirit had revealed to him as he prayed that he would see the Messiah, so he watched and waited.  He had done this for a very long time, modelling a patience I can only aspire to!  What can we learn from him about being open to guidance and promptings from God?

Anna was known as someone who fasted and prayed. Fasting is a special way of watching and waiting, of making space for God. Perhaps something to consider as we draw near to the season of Lent.

Simeon & Anna were purposeful and perceptive

When Simeon was prompted, he acted. He purposefully took Jesus in his arms.  He praised God! His song of praise has been on the lips of Christians ever since.

He blessed the parents of this special child too. He was perceptive about the cost to them, telling Mary that a sword would pierce her heart.

Anna, once she had perceived who this was, again began to praise God, and spoke about him to everyone, sharing the good news.  How purposeful are we about sharing the good news, speaking about Jesus to all? In these bleak times people need good news more than ever.

Simeon & Anna were wise and wrinkly

Simeon was righteous and devout, he had the wisdom and experience that comes through age.  Many older people feel with the focus on young people in church they don’t matter. They do.  We need wise wrinklies who have walked the walk.  Oldies, share your wisdom and experience with grace. Younger folk, listen and learn.

Simeon & Anna were prayerful and prophetic

Their wisdom came through from prayer.  It was from that deep place of relationship with God that Simeon could prophesy that this child would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to God’s people Israel. Light for the whole world (hence candles at Candlemas).  Simeon spoke of salvation, Anna of redemption.  In the next 30 years nothing remarkable happened in Jesus’ life, but they could see what was to be.

Simeon & Anna were generous and gentle

They welcomed well, they were kind and open to a young family, they treated them with gentleness.  If they hadn’t been the kind of old folk that Mary and Joseph instinctively trusted, we would never have got to hear these revelations.  We might find some people hard to welcome, but who might we miss?

Two faithful elderly people of God, watching and waiting, purposeful and perceptive, wise and wrinkly, prayerful and prophetic, generous and gentle. People to emulate.

Let’s try to be more like them!


Page last updated: 16th February 2021 4:58 PM
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