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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, January 2, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Luke 2:21–40

After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. (NRSV)

Reflection
As we enter a new year, I can’t help but think of everything I hope for in the next 364 days. But if therecent past has taught me anything, it’s that anything can happen!

So we’ll see what this year brings, one day at a time. We wait. We wait for love, for a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or a wife. We wait to have a family of our own, for a much-hoped for baby to be born. We wait for healing, and we wait for pandemics to end.

Seasons of waiting can feel restless. How must Simeon have felt, waiting his whole life to see the Messiah! But waiting can also be a time of formation and faith. Simeon and Anna show us how to wait well: in worship, prayer, community, and relationship with God, so that when the time is right, the Holy Spirit can move us to what it is we wait for.

Like Simeon and Anna, we know God keeps all his promises. Although Simeon likely didn’t live long enough to see his prophecy fulfilled, we have seen how good God’s promises are and we know that they are worth waiting for. After all, anything can happen. 

Prayer
Heavenly Father, in all things you work for the good of those who love you. Grant us the patience of Simeon and Anna, and send your Holy Spirit to guide us as we wait. Amen.

Written by Alisa Rantanen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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