The Meeting of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple forty days after his birth. Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to present him and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” This was done according to the law of Moses (Leviticus 12:2-8).
While they were there, a man whose name was Simeon came up to them and took Jesus in his arms. According to the scripture, this man was just and devout. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord Christ, the consolation of Israel.
When he took Jesus up in his arms, he blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Joseph and Mary marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (From Luke 2:25-35)
We see many characteristics in Simeon that we should want in our own lives. He was just, which can be defined as “behaving according to what is morally right and fair.” He was devout, “expressing piety or religious fervor.” He listened to and followed the lead of the Holy Spirit, and in doing so he was blessed to see and recognize salvation come to earth. He took Jesus in his arms; do we embrace Christ in our lives?
Another person was blessed to recognize Jesus as well. Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel (meaning face of God), of the tribe of Asher. She was eighty-four years old. As a young woman she married and lived with her husband seven years before he died.
As a widow, she did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. And coming in while Simeon was with the family, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Jesus to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (From Luke 2:36-38) Scripture doesn’t tell us, but we can imagine what Anna may have been doing during her decades at the temple in addition to fasting and praying. History tells us that the women who lived at the temple served through domestic work: cooking, cleaning, spinning, and weaving. Even in doing this work, she could pray without ceasing and it freed the priests to focus on their spiritual duties.
How do we apply this to our lives today? Are we willing to do seemingly menial work? Do we pray without ceasing? Do we strengthen our community by participating in Orthodox fasting times? Do we recognize the presence of God in our lives?
Writer Anna Glass is a member of Joy of All Who Sorrow. She will thank you to send your suggestions for the blog to her at email@example.com. She may even have a surprise gift for the first person who does!
Meeting of the Lord, Russian Orthodox icon, 15th century from:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_of_Jesus_at_the_Temple