Top of my list

Malachi 3:1-4
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It’s been forty days since Christmas. Remember the joy and wonder of the light of Christ? Do you still feel that? Does knowing that the Word became flesh still cause you to celebrate right now?

The prophet Malachi envisioned the Lord’s messenger. We know him as John the Baptist pointing to the coming soon-to-be risen Lord. If you recall, John’s baptism and preaching were about preparation. “Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” he asked some. “But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

But before John’s declaration, Jesus had to grow in faith. Before Jesus began his ministry as a young adult, he had to affirm what he, I assume, heard his calling was. That all began when his parents presented him in the temple. It was his preparation for what was to come. His birth had already amazed shepherds and wise men from a distant land. Mary had pondered much. Now, it was time for purification, according to Levitical law. Holiness is always at the center of life. Joseph and Mary are to present Jesus in the dwelling place of God.

I can only hope you feel a bit of the joy I do when I baptize a child in front of a congregation. I can’t help but wonder if even the most joyous of us can appreciate how Simeon and Anna felt. They were the ones who recognized the young Jesus as God’s promise fulfilled.

We assume both were older adults; Luke tells us Anna was of “great age.” I know Moses is the great leader of faith. David is the greatest king. There are many examples of people of God who stood courageous and faithful. But it’s these two older people who are at the top of my list of biblical heroes.

They were regular people of God. There was no parting sea for them, no burning furnace or lion’s den. We don’t hear of them fighting great armies or defeating giants. Their life was more akin to yours and mind. They’ve held on to their faith for many years. So, they’ve hoped and wondered. And they were so in tune to the Spirit that they recognized the boy Jesus that day. They knew who and what he would be. Do we?

They are my example today. I want to praise God as they did. I want to share what I know about the Christ with those ready to listen. What a peace to know the Savior of the world has come!

May our reflection on the presentation of Jesus remind us of the life we have with God. We find fulness of life as we continue to offer our lives as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Let’s rejoice like Simeon and praise God like Anna. And, like Mary and Joseph, let’s dedicate our lives to the holiness of God as a response to the light of Christ we have seen.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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