Read this week's text, Luke 2:22-40
This year I added two figurines to our church creche - Simeon and Anna. Our creche is filled simple wood cut outs and a woman in the congregation does wood working so I asked her to cut out another male and another female figure. We've been adding new people to the scene each week and I can't wait to add the two of them this coming Sunday.
I'm tempted to sing to the tune of Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer -
You know Mary and Joseph and Jesus and donkeys,
Angels and Shepherds and sheep and wise men,
but do you recall the oldest members of them all?
Simeon and Anna at the temple
had waited very long for the Messiah...
I'm gonna stop there because I'm mostly revealing how punchy I am as we count down to Christmas Eve services but you get the idea. We have these two fantastic characters that we talk about almost every year. A Grandfather and Grandmother type figure sometimes to us but what were they really like? I've read they represent the poor, the devout, the patient ones, wanting and longing. In the story, they are the first to recognize Jesus without angelic or celestial help.
I'm reminded of the verse from John 20, "Blessed are those who believe and have not seen." Although Simeon and Anna have "seen" the Messiah, they recognize him on their own. In Luke's gospel, the Holy Spirit has not yet come; they don't have the benefit like we do of having the indwelling of God yet. Their recognition comes from waiting and watching. Waiting and watching.
Even after the baby is born, we have yet another message about waiting and watching. Longing for peace, believing it will come. Hoping for salvation, trusting in God's mercy.
I assume there were others at the temple that day. Did Jesus and his family go unnoticed by others who longed for peace? Did this Messiah go unrecognized by others who hoped for salvation? And when we say Come Lord Jesus, are we waiting but not watching? Does Jesus and his proverbial family go unnoticed by us? Does the Messiah come and go without recognition on our watch?
Unlike the other figures in the creche, Simeon and Anna didn't get an angelic announcement nor did they receive celestial navigation. They had their heart and their mind and their faith and their eyes - just like us.
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