After Christmas

Read the ‘Liturgy and prayer’ specially written for us by Rev Kathy Galloway

Mary and Joseph took two white doves to the temple as a presentation to God.  You might like to cut out and make a simple dove to remind you. You, also, might like to offer a special thanks to God for the birth of this baby.

THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE

To begin

Because God chose not a palace but a tent

We bear witness to the light

Because God chose to be one of us,

not apart from us

We bear witness to the light

Because God chose the margins,

not the centre

We bear witness to the light

Because a woman said yes

when she could have said no

We bear witness to the light

For nothing is impossible for God.

 

Luke 2: 22-40   The Presentation in the Temple

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”),  and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,

   which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Reflection

Jesus was presented in the Jerusalem Temple at the age of forty days, according to the requirement of the Law of Moses for a first-born male child. There he was greeted by both Simeon and Anna and thus there was a meeting of the five – these two, Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

The Gospel reading describes the bringing of Jesus by Mary and Joseph to the Temple and their offering of a sacrifice as required by the Law (Leviticus 12:8; Luke 2:24) after the birth of a first-born son (Exodus 13:2,15) . It continues by presenting Simeon, a devout Jew, who was waiting to see the Messiah of his people. On seeing Jesus, he knew that he was looking at the Messiah and so taking him in his arms, he praised God and uttered the prayer we now call “Nunc dimittis.” Then Simeon turned to bless Mary and Joseph and prophesied concerning the messianic vocation and work of Jesus. This small group was then joined by Anna, a godly widow, who also was waiting for the advent of the Messiah. After she had seen Jesus and also recognised him as the Messiah, she thanked God and spoke of him as the Messiah to many people.

Activities

Mary and Joseph took two white doves to the temple as a presentation to God.  You might like to cut out and make a simple dove to remind you.

As final thought, look at the painting ‘The Story of Christ by Gaudenzio Ferrari (c. 1471 – January 11, 1546) was an Lombard painter and sculptor. The painting reminds us that Advent and Christmas were just the beginning. How many of the events in the picture do you recognise? They all lead on to the death and resurrection of Jesus and all that this means for us.

So you might like to offer a special thanks to God for the birth of this rather special baby.

Prayer

Living God, this Christmas time,

Thank you for the invitation

you are always offering.

Like Simeon and Anna

Keep us watchful and waiting

for Jesus in our midst.

Help us to recognise him

and hear his word to us

that we may be open

to your coming in love among us.

Amen

Closing Responses

Oh that you would tear open the heavens

and come down

to your fragile, faithless people.

Nothing is impossible for God

Something is happening,

someone is coming,

prepare the way of the Lord.

Nothing is impossible for God

He is coming in the power

and gentleness of the Spirit

to bring good news to the poor

and justice to the nations

Nothing is impossible for God

We bear witness to the light,

to a child born in weakness,

to the divine made human,

to a new way of being

and knowing and doing

Nothing is impossible for God

May Christ be born anew in our hearts

May our homes and churches

be open to welcome all in his name

May his hope, his peace, his love,

transform our broken world

For nothing is impossible for God


The full advent pack is available here: https://wellingtonchurchglasgow.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/complete-1.pdf


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