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Christmas 1B/Holy Family
Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gospel: Luke 2: 22-40

A Special Baby

Highlighted Verses: Luke 2: 22-40

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Have you ever held a baby?

You have to be very careful, don’t you – because babies are so tiny and fragile? But holding one is such a special thing. And every time I hold a baby – especially a very small, newborn one – I’m always amazed by their beautiful eyes, and their soft hair and their tiny fingers and toes.

It’s kind of funny sometimes when tiny babies are brought into a group. People wait turns just to hold them – and often they talk about things they notice just from looking at them. Often you’ll hear people say that babies look a lot like their moms and dads – or their brothers and sisters.

We just celebrated Christmas, Jesus’ birth. At the time he was born there was a custom that after several weeks mothers and fathers would bring their babies to the temple (their church) to be presented. This week’s Gospel lesson tells that story. Mary and Joseph bring baby Jesus to the temple and while they’re there they meet an old man named Simeon.  

And when Simeon holds Jesus he notices something too! Now you should know that Simeon has had a vision from the Holy Spirit – who told him that he would not die before he had met the Messiah – God’s Son.

Can you guess what he notices about Jesus? That’s right. Simeon holds Jesus and he realizes that his vision has come true. He tells God that he’s now ready to come to heaven, because he has met the Son of God, just as he’d been promised.

Jesus was a special baby who would go on to do great things. And Simeon noticed right from the beginning. Let’s pray.

Dear God,

Thank you for sending your son Jesus to Earth as a child. Help and guide us as we follow his path during the year ahead.


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