My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation (10AM)
Yesterday we celebrated Christmas. This morning our Bible passage takes place 8 days later. It was, according to Jewish custom, the time when every male child was taken to the Temple and dedicated to the Lord. It was a remember that everything we have, including our children, are gifts from God, given to us by God. (An important comment when children do not reach their 8th day. Tears for this type of deep loss are real, painful, difficult, life-altering. While the pain lingers, God knows, God grieves, God is present, God cares for that child). When God entered human history as a baby He identified with our weaknesses and frailties. Jesus had to be carried, fed, changed, comforted, protected. On His eight day the required offering was made (it was the offering for those who were poor) and He was officially received into the community of faith.
All along their journey as parents, Mary and Joseph were given unmistakable reminders of the uniqueness of their new son. On the day of Jesus' dedication two faithful God followers, Simeon and Anna, added their voices as they declared the miraculous identity and purpose of this child.
Simeon announced, " my eyes have seen your salvation." Anna came up and, "began to give thanks to God and speak of Him (the baby Jesus) to all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel." Put that in Jesus' scrapbook!
Parenting and life would be difficult enough for Joseph and Mary. They lived under the suspicion and judgment of their neighbors. When Jesus began His public ministry, as He taught and healed, suspicion and judgment increased. But the memories, dreams, visions, prophesies God provided along the way brought encouragement and strength. In our life individually and as a church, God provides strength and encouragement for us too! We need it! Our life and faith depends on it!