Moved by the Spirit, Simeon went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…
Coming up at that very moment, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. ~ Luke 2
We often hear about the shepherds and the wise men that came to worship Jesus following his birth. Yet there are two other characters who show up after the birth of Christ that we might not hear as much about. (Read Luke 2:22-40)
Simeon—a righteous and devout man who was promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. The very day Jesus was brought to the Temple to be consecrated unto God, scripture said he was led by the Holy Spirit to the Temple where he encountered and worshiped the baby Jesus.
And the Prophetess Anna—a 84-year-old widow who lived at the Temple, fasting, praying and worshiping day and night. She also at that very moment came to the Temple court and found Simeon with Mary, Joseph and the baby.
I love what scripture says about these precious moments at the Temple. Simeon had lived a long, faithful life waiting for a long-ago promise to be fulfilled. He listened to the Spirit and he went. It didn’t matter what else he had to do that day—he listened, and he went. Anna spent over 60 years worshiping day and night. Her devotion was rewarded with the sight of a baby who would change the world!
Leonard Bernstein, an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist, is quoted as saying:
“Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world – the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.”
When I consider this quote, I am reminded that Jesus himself was and is the most incredible piece of art work in all of human history—the Word of God made flesh—the Divine in human form—Emmanuel, God With Us. He did indeed revive and readapt time and space! And his presence here on earth not only makes us an inhabitant of the world but an inhabitant of heaven if we believe in his name.
Won’t you take just a moment to breathe its strange, special air?
Lord Jesus, help us to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit this season, to obey when we hear you, to worship you in every moment of this blessed season. Help us see you as The One piece of art work that changed the world. Help us see at this very moment! Help us to stop and to breathe the strange, special air all around us. You have forever changed our world. You have forever changed our lives. We worship you alone.
Merry CHRISTmas, Jody