Thursday, December 22, 2011

Advent Reflection #28

I seem to be ahead of myself on these!

One of the most neglected parts of the Christmas story is the visit to the temple forty days after the birth.  There are two very old people, the woman at least 84, who served in the temple as good Jews but who recognized the Messiah when he came.  Why?  Perhaps becasue their hearts and minds were ready to receive what is to be revealed.  I thik we do not recieve a word from the Lord, or gifts of his grace, because we are not ready, and these two were ready.

Simeon prophesies.  He approaches Mary and Joseph by the Holy Spirit; they do not appraoch him.  He makes it clear Jesus is for everybody, but that he will be divisive.  Joseph and Mary marvel. I can see Luke interviewing Mary about this episode.  She might have thought it was as amazing as the three wise me (who, incidentally, came later than this scene). 

Simeon says that his coming is so that "the thoughts of many will be revealed."  The word of God is sharper and than a two-edged swords, dividing the soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:14).  We hide; God reveals, not just his truth but our internal truths and untruths.  He makes them real to us; he puts up a mirror that shows much deeper than skin. 

To Mary Simeon says, "Your own soul will be cut through with a sword," because she will see him die a cruel death in the end and she will see him rejected often before that. 

Then Luke tells us of Anna.  Luke likes women.  He gives them plenty of space and credibility in his gospel, especially compared to the writers of his time.  Of her Luke says, "She spoke to all those who looked for the redemption in Jerusalem."  Anna spread the word, whether she is listened to or not.

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