Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 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 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”, 24 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.”
25 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 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, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 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, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 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.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Many people across the globe celebrate the day after Christmas. They use this extra day to stretch out the holiday because it's worth savoring. I think its a worthy effort. Last year, I started thinking of December 26th as “Savory day.” :) So instead of going back to business as usual today, try lingering in the feel of Christmas for one more day. This can be a luxury for some of us, but if you are able, get your family or friends on board with this idea, and savor the day after Christmas together.
Rest. You’ve spent weeks decorating, baking, purchasing, wrapping, hosting, celebrating, etc. This day is for rest. Stay in your pajamas, lounge over extra cups of coffee, tea or cocoa. Linger over snacks and meals. Don't say yes to anything that isn't urgent. Play with your kids, take a nap, order in for dinner, let the house get messy. Be fully present with yourself and your loved ones.
Reflect on the year. Even if it was a rough year with struggles and losses, there are always blessings. Sometimes they are small and have to be noticed. Other times they are big, obvious blessings. Reflect over each month of the year and create a list of the many gifts you have been given.
Remember the Christmas story, and perhaps the parts that aren’t as popular. Read the story with fresh eyes. Ponder how each of the characters must have felt, Zechariah, Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, the wisemen, Elizabeth, Mary. What do you imagine Jesus’ early years were like? How were all of those characters involved in his story?
Savor the moments. Go for a walk and admire the lights, the quiet roads, or the busyness of others. Watch a movie, crack open a new book, put on the hat and mittens and play outside. Admire your family members, Look on them with fresh eyes, admire the way they have impacted your life.
Prepare your heart for the new year. When you’ve spent time reflecting on the months behind, is there a word or thought that resonates in your heart? What thought or idea bubbles up from inside of you with anticipation for the next year? Or is there an anxious thought instead? Either way, write it down and pray about it. Give this one idea to God, and trust him with it completely. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the months to come, so that you may stay in the will of God.
Dear Lord, Don’t let me become so familiar with the Christmas story that it doesn’t still move me to worship and praise. Remind me to treasure the gift of Immanuel, God with us. Help me to be more than just a spectator to the birth of Christ, and allow me to participate with you in your story! Guide me to share in the awe and wonder of the nativity and let me worship Christ at his holy manger today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.