Posts Tagged ‘Simeon’

Candlemas (russian icon)

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Simeon and Anna didn’t see the newborn Jesus right after his birth, but they saw him a few weeks later.  And they recognized the wonderful promise wrapped up in this one tiny life.

A Christmas Garland

A Sermon on : Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Luke 2:21-38; and Luke 4:16-21

When Jesus was about six weeks old, Mary and Joseph took him to the Temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, according to the law of Moses.  Two of Jerusalem’s oldest citizens were there that day, Simeon and Anna.  These two prayerful souls were longing for the consolation of Israel and the redemption of Jerusalem.  For that day and time they were quite old, and that means they had survived much.  Luke tells us that Anna was well acquainted with the ashes of grief.  She had been widowed at a very young age and had lived into her eighties without her husband at her side.  And this was at a time when widows almost always had to struggle with poverty.

The pain of the community was on their minds as well as on everyone else’s.  The tax decree from Caesar Augustus that had forced Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem when she was in the last stages of pregnancy was only the latest episode in a long history of oppression.  For six centuries one empire after the other had dominated all the peoples of Palestine, to the ends of the known world.  The Romans were the current oppressors, and they had followed the Greeks, who had followed the Persians, who had followed the Babylonians, who had followed the Assyrians.  In every generation one empire or another was extracting money and resources from the peoples they had conquered, including the people of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.

Simeon and Anna had heard the promise of Isaiah 61 many times.  They knew by heart the story of how the Babylonians had reduced Jerusalem to ashes and marched their ancestors off into captivity in Babylon.  They also remembered how many years later God had brought a remnant of the people home and enabled them to rebuild Jerusalem and rebuild their lives.  God kept the promise of Isaiah 61 then.  God’s people needed God to keep that promise now. (more…)

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