A prophetess named Anna was also at the Temple that day. She was a daughter of Phanuel, who was of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, and had been a widow for 84 years, having been married for seven years before that. She served God constantly with fasting and prayer, never leaving the Temple complex.
While Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, she also began to praise God and tell everyone that their long awaited Messiah had arrived.
There was a righteous and devout man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit was with him, and he looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple complex when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to dedicate him to the Lord, according to the Law.
Taking Jesus in his arms, Simeon praised God and said:
“Lord, now I can die in peace. For I have seen the Savior as you promised I would. In the presence of everyone you have prepared a light of revelation to the nations and glory to your people Israel.”
Joseph and Mary were amazed at what he was saying about their child. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary “Truly, this child is destined to unsettle many in Israel and to be a sign that will be spoken against. You will be sick at heart that people’s scheming thoughts will be made known.”
Eight days after he was born, the baby was circumcised and named Jesus, in accordance with what the angel said before he was conceived.
When the time came for Mary’s offering at the temple as required by the Law after the birth of a child, his parents brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The Law states that every firstborn male shall be dedicated to the Lord. They were required to offer a sacrifice of either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Some shepherds were watching their flocks in fields near the village that night.
Suddenly an angel appeared, and the glory of the Lord shone forth. The shepherds were full of fear at the sight. But the angel reassured them, saying “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to everyone – the Messiah, the Savior was born for you in Bethlehem this very night! This is how you will recognize him – you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast number of other heavenly beings who were praising God and saying –
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people of good will.”
After all the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other “Let’s go to Bethlehem right now to see this thing that the Lord has revealed to us.” They hurried off to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger.
After they left, they told everyone about the message they had received from the angels about the child, and everyone was amazed. But Mary treasured up all these things in her heart and often thought about them.
Then the shepherds returned to their flocks, giving glory and praise to God because of everything they had just seen and heard.
hallowed and haunted
covered with ghosts
of saints and other,
praised and profane
we walk barefoot
holding our breath
lest we wake
lest we disturb.
good that the land is marked
good that the boundaries are set
good that we know
when it is safe
to put our old shoes on
and take our hats off.
Odd how it is
that we are expected
to uncover our feet
yet cover our heads
in the presence of the divine.