1 John 2:3-11
Today is Day 5 of the Christmas Octave. In the Christmas carol ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ today is the day of the five golden rings. These represent Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – the first books of the Old Testament. In the carol, each day has a unique set of symbols with a significance attached to them.
Today’s Gospel is the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem by his parents. This was to fulfil the customary purification of the mother and the presentation and circumcision of the first male child and was paramount for all Jewish parents. But as we all know this was no ordinary family. This was the Holy Family. Jesus – the Son of God – was a tiny baby in the arms of Mary and Joseph. Imagine the bewilderment of those around them when Simeon, an old priest, held Jesus in his arms and proclaimed aloud his deepest thanks to God for allowing him to see the long awaited Saviour. This overflowing joy came from his heart as he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
When a child is born parents are filled with many hopes and dreams for their little one – the future is bright and the possibilities are endless. Sadly we know that many children do not get to see a future. Innocent lives are being lost in global conflicts, where the suffering endured by children is so extreme. They are today’s Massacre of the Innocent by Herod (which was in yesterday’s Gospel).
As we gaze on the Child Jesus in the manger let us pray for all children that they continue to be a sign of hope and joy in the midst of everything.
Heavenly Father we ask that today we will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to lift up Jesus in our arms to cherish, praise and worship Him. May we recognise Him in those that we meet. Let us present ourselves every day 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.