Read Luke 2:22-40.
Two parents and a newborn travel on a dusty road after the mother gives birth in a cave full of livestock. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph travel 90 miles to arrive at the temple in Jerusalem when he is eight days old for Judaism’s required ritual cleansing of newborns.
Two elders await them: Simeon and Anna.
Simeon speaks of the justice that Jesus brings. He holds their baby and declares his life’s purpose. On top of that, Simeon has news. Mary’s pain will increase because of Jesus.
In true patriarchal fashion, the readers never hear Anna’s prophecy. They know of her devotion, her spirituality, and none of her truth. And yet. Perhaps it was so precious Mary and Joseph never shared the prophecy. Perhaps those were the holiest words they ever heard, and no retelling could capture them.
Think of the words that have changed your life. Of the truth spoken to you by dear ones and by God. These are the phrases that you nestle within yourself when you forget whose and who you are. They remind you that you are loved, forgiven, and free.
What shouts of praise and warning do you carry? What kinds of adversity have you endured? What will you take with you, as you nurture the Christ child, the one who uncovers both joy and pain?
God, you journey with me on the dusty roads of life. Teach me how to discern the difference between your words and the words others believe God gives them to share with me. Reveal within me the spirit of Mary and Joseph to endure and the boldness to speak like Simeon and Anna. Amen.
Rev. Michele Ward