The Extraordinary revealed in the Ordinary.
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
For many years, when I had read or heard the account of the child Jesus being taken into the temple by His parents so that they might offer Him (being the first born male child) as Holy to the Lord, as prescribed by the law of Moses, I had assumed that they were the only parents in the Temple performing this duty in the presence of the Priest.
It was only when I saw paintings of the scene depicting other couples there with their child, that I realised that Mary and Joseph were simply one couple among many and that there was nothing to mark them out as special in any way.
How much more significant is it then that the old Priest Simeon was able to recognise, from among all the others in the temple that day, that it was Mary and Joseph who were carrying the precious child he had been waiting a lifetime to greet.
Surely it was that, ‘Guided by the Spirit’ Simeon went towards Mary and Joseph and received the child Jesus into his arms.
In that moment Simeon was able to say, “Lord, You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2v29-32).
That moment of revelation for Simeon was a moment of revelation for the world… but the world did not know it. As the world did not know Him at His birth… still the world did not know.
The birth of Jesus took place among the ordinary life and work of an Innkeeper… unknown to all the other innkeepers.
His revelation was among the ordinary, everyday work of the Temple… unknown to all the others in the Temple that day.
And still today, He is revealed in the ordinariness and unknown happenings of our daily living and our lives.
He is revealed in the kindness of strangers; in the thoughtful comment; in the unselfish act; in support given to the lonely, the frightened, the hungry, the grieving.
He is revealed whenever our eyes are open to see.
Cause us to carry the Light of Emmanuel into the world,
Walking where the Spirit guides us,
Even to the darkest places of the land. Amen.