As they go into the temple, God’s own house two other people come to meet them. A man and a woman, both old, both having waited for a very long time the coming of the messiah. We can safely say that these two represent the whole people of God, who had been waiting this moment for centuries. Unlike the young parents of that child, these old people’s main concern is not the law, but the child that is being presented, the one whom they had been waiting. Simeon takes the baby in his arms. The focus of his attention is all there. Enlightened by God’s own Spirit, he knows that this is not any baby who will have to make sure he obeys God’s law for the rest of his life. This is God’s own word. The life-giving word that in the beginning had said over and over again ”let there be …” and so it was, is now here, in the form of a human being. This word continues to give life. It brings salvation for everyone, light to those who were in darkness, and glory to God’s own people. Through this word, the “inner thoughts of many will be revealed”. Truth will come out and prevail.
Unfortunately, this Word-made-flesh will not be accepted by everyone. As the apostle John would say many years later, he came to his own, but his own did not receive him. He will have to suffer in order to fulfill his mission. Rejection, incomprehension, betrayal, death will all be part of his story. Mary his mother will be journeying with him. His sufferings will become her sufferings. Moreover, she will have to learn to become a disciple, rather than a mother. Being the mother of the Son of God is different to any other mother. She, too, will have her times of sufferings, incomprehension and confusion. Simeon’s words were difficult to understand, unless it was by the benefit of hindsight. Here the other woman comes to her aid. No one can be there for a woman more than another woman. The prophet Anna comes and starts praising God and speaking about this child and his mission. If Mary had any doubts, they are now completely gone. All Mary can do is return home and continue with her life. With Joseph, she would rear and nurture that child, see him grow, and grow with him in her understanding.
As we slowly move into the new year, Jesus is being presented to us, not just to his Father. He comes to us as “light” to enlighten our darkness. As we journey into our own temple during these days, let us take him into our arms like Simeon did. Let us cradle him, enjoy his presence, gaze into his loving eyes. And let us allow his light to shine from his eyes into ours. No matter how dark our lives might sometimes feel or be, his light can always do wonders!