The Christmas story comes to us in all shapes and sizes, yet it is always a warm reminder of why we celebrate the season. As the whole world sat in darkness, mankind was utterly unable to help ourselves. And then—Jesus came for us! His coming would change the course of human history as God’s Son became our Savior-Redeemer. So, it is perfectly fitting for us to rejoice at the Babe in a manger, Mary and Joseph, star-struck shepherds, dazzling-white angels, and wise guys from afar. But wait! Isn’t there a part of this miraculous story that is mostly overlooked?
Just eight days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple to fulfill Jewish Law. That is where something miraculous happened: “At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God.” (Luke 2:25-28)
But there was yet another surprise waiting for the young couple: “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple….she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God….She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36-38)
These seem like strange events, since we naturally think the religious leaders would have been the ones to recognize the Son of God—but not so. They missed Him completely, while the quaint elderly man and woman got it right! How could this be? Apparently, Simeon and Anna knew what had been foretold about the coming Messiah, and thereby recognized the signs accompanying His birth. Their eyes beheld what they already knew in their hearts.
And what about us? Isn’t our world filled with strange events? As the days grow darker, does it not seem as though we cannot help ourselves? If we read what the Bible foretells about the days before Jesus comes the second time, we might recognize signs that describe this very generation (Matthew 24). Are we alert to the signs in our time? Are we watching and waiting as Simeon and Anna were, or are we more like the religious leaders—mostly blind to the day that is upon us? As we celebrate this joyful Christmas season with our family and friends, may we share the good news that Jesus is coming for us—again!
“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door!” (Matthew 24:32-33 NLT)
Christmas Blessings to all ~ Sarah Jane Kellogg