Today concludes our Advent devotional. The devotional will automatically resume mid January with a series on praying the psalms.
Start with Posture of Silence and Solitude (2 minutes)
Read Scripture: Luke 2:21-40
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Little is added to the story of Jesus from here on out. We hear about his parents looking for him in the temple but then there is a gap until he comes into his ministry in his early years. We know that a Jewish boy would be spending those years in study of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures, until he reached his thirties to be a rabbi. Jesus also learned the trade of his father, Joseph.
We can be curious about what those years looked like for Jesus and his family as it became more clear what plans God had for them during his final years on earth. Yet the unknown was still very present. We are often uncomfortable with the unknown and don’t like not knowing what the future may hold. So we make plans, as we should, yet holding them loosely is not our strong suit.
Question to Ponder:
What plans for the coming year do you need to hold loosely?
God. You created us to plan our days with hope in mind. Yet, we know that you hold our futures in the palm of your hand. Help me to prayerfully make my plans while I, at the same time, loosen the grip on those things I hope for myself, knowing you have the far better plan for my life. Amen.
End with Posture of Silence and Solitude (2 minutes)