1 John 2:3-11
Today is Day 5 in the Christmas Octave. In the Christmas carol, The 12 Days of Christmas, today is the day of the five golden rings. These represent the Pentateuch – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Each of the 12 days has its unique emblem in the carol depicting essential catechetical teachings, particularly for children. It is debatable whether the song was actually written during Catholic suppression in England. However, remembering the importance of the tenets of the faith through song is powerful.
Today’s Gospel of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem by his parents is no ordinary event. The fulfilment of the customary purification of the mother and the presentation and circumcision of their male children was of paramount importance for all Jewish parents. This rite of circumcision dates back to the covenant made between God and Abraham (Gen 17:10). But as we all know, this was no ordinary family. This was the Holy Family. Jesus – the Son of God, the Word made Flesh, the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ, Emmanuel, true God and true man – was a tiny baby in the arms of Mary and Joseph. Imagine the bewilderment of those around them when Simeon held Jesus in his arms and proclaimed out loud the Nunc Dimitris, which flowed from his heart. This prayer is prayed every day, particularly at the end of Compline.
Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit and followed the Holy Spirit’s promptings. As soon as he saw Jesus, he knew the Messiah was being presented to him. Simeon recognised that the child that he was holding was Christ the Lord.
Heavenly Father, we ask that today we will be prompted by the Holy Spirit so that we too can lift up Jesus in our arms to cherish, praise and worship Him and recognise Him in those we meet. Let us present ourselves daily to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, just as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to be presented in the Temple.
Victoria Raw is parishioner of Te Whetu O Te Moana, Star of the Sea Marlborough, NZ and is active in lay ministry.