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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Sermonette - The Prophets' Gifts

The passages about Simeon and Anna are too long to reproduce here, so I'm asking you to read them yourselves. They start at Luke 2:22 and go through Luke 2:38.

The story of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus continues from last week....

Mary wished Joseph would hold her hand while they walked through the crowd going and coming at the temple. She knew he wouldn't--it wouldn't be seemly--but the crush of people threatened to overwhelm her. "Joseph! Joseph, wait for me. I can't walk as fast as you."

Joseph slowed until she reached his side. "I'm sorry, Mary. I'm so eager to redeem our son...ah, God's Son. I hope God wasn't offended by my thinking that. Jesus seems like my son, and it seems God intends us to raise Him as yours and mine."

"You're right, husband. It still seems so unreal, the Son of God arriving as a baby to you and me. At first I was afraid to even cuddle Him, feed Him, or even to kiss His head."

A gray-bearded older man ran up to them. "This is the One, isn't He? This He the Son of God?"

Joseph's jaw dropped.

Mary's eyes widened, and she tightened her grip on the Infant.

Joseph stepped between Mary and the stranger. "Who are you? Who told you?"

"Then it's true? Praises be to the Most High! My name is Simeon. The Holy Spirit of God told me to come to the temple today to see His Son. Please, please. May I hold Him for just a moment?"

Mary stepped forward and held Jesus out to Simeon. "Of course. Our names are Joseph and Mary, His parents here on earth."

With a glad cry, the old man pulled the Babe to his chest, then lifted Him as though to present Him to God. “Lord, I can depart in peace, now, as You have said. I have seen Your salvation. He handed Jesus back to Mary, and his eyes teared. "May God greatly bless you, Joseph and Mary. You will need His strength, because many people will oppose this child, such that even your own souls will be pierced." With a shake of his head, Simeon departed, singing praises in his aged voice.

Another person approached them, an elderly woman this time, bent and toothless. "Are you the mother of God's Son? My name is Anna, and I live here at the temple."

"Anna the prophetess? I've heard of you," Mary said. "Yes, this is God's Son. His name is Jesus."

The old woman lifted her head and her hands. "Blessed are You, O Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Thank You for Your gift to this world, this tiny Child who will save all those who call on Him. Bless these young people who will care for Him, too." She climbed the steps that led from the Court of Gentiles to the Court of Women. She threw up her hands toward the sky. "Listen, all of you. This is the Holy Son of God, the One who will save the world from their sins." She walked through these two courts of the temple where women were allowed, tugging on cloaks and tunics and repeating the refrain.

Mary stared in awe. "Joseph...."

"I know, wife. I know."

(don't go away--this will be continued next week)

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