CHILD WHO BRINGS CHANGE
Mighty One, you are the God of this and every world, of this and every time. I glorify your name.
Read LUKE 2:36-40
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
- Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Strikes for us now the hour of grace, / Savior since thou art born.’1
The Bible has many walk-on parts of great significance, Simeon and Anna among them. Anna has probably been a widow for around 60 years, in a world where widows had very little support. Her situation has allowed her to focus on her relationship with God: the hours of prayer and fasting, the time spent with God, have borne fruit. Like Simeon, she is waiting expectantly for the ‘redemption of Jerusalem’ (v 38), which stands for the nation as a whole and perhaps for a wider humanity. There were others with a similar hope and it is to them that she speaks of what she sees God doing. Waiting, although frustrating, brings potential for growth; much of our Christian lives will be spent longing for God and the longing will bring us closer. It is a frequent theme in the psalms.2
We leave the birth narratives with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returning to Galilee. Jesus grows like any other child – physically, intellectually, and, with the grace of God on him, spiritually. We cannot know when or how the awareness of his mission became clear – certainly by the age of twelve or thirteen when he is in the Temple debating theology there is a sense that he has a special task to fulfill for God, to whom he is related in a unique way (‘be about my Father’s business’, v 49, footnote). Luke has set the scene for the rest of his Gospel. Jesus has come at God’s initiative, ‘conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary’3 and has been welcomed into the world as God’s solution to the plight of humanity. We live today in the light of who Jesus is and what he came to do. He is our consolation, he is our redemption, he is our Savior. And that is worth celebrating and telling.
As we move away from Christmas and prepare to enter another year, what have you learned that you could take into the new year? Pray that Jesus will accompany you.
Lord Jesus, you are the Light of the World. You are my Savior and Lord, and I celebrate all you have done for me.
1 Joseph Mohr, 1792–1848, based on a translation by Stopford A Brooke, 1832–1916, ‘Still the night, holy the night’ 2 E.g. Pss 27:14; 130:5,6 3 The Apostles’ Creed
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