Reflection 4: Trusting to fulfilment

Our fourth advent reflection looks at Luke 2.6-7.

Luke 2.6-7

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2.25-38

25 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 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, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 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, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 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.

‘The time came…’

For Mary and Joseph the time came quite quickly – we would expect it was somewhere in the region of nine months after the visit from Gabriel. Maybe this was just enough time for them to get their heads around it, or perhaps more likely, nowhere near enough time. Either way, their wait was not a particularly long one for the promise to come to pass.

For Simeon and Anna though, it was a different story.

We don’t know quite how long Simeon had been waiting to see the Messiah, but his declaration that God can ‘now dismiss his servant in peace’ certainly suggests that it had been a while. The Lord’s promise was fulfilled as Simeon took the eight-day-old Jesus in his arms.

Anna’s life can’t have gone as she had imagined or hoped it would. A wife for seven years but a widow for many decades, she found peace and purpose through worship and prayer, spending her days at the temple. This implies she did not have children or grandchildren with whom she could live, although we can’t say this for sure.

While Anna may not have had a specific promise given to her as Simeon had, as a prophet she would have known God’s heart and God’s plan that a Messiah would come and now she was included in this precious moment, given the opportunity to worship the newborn King. She was then able to share this experience with others, reassuring all those looking forward to redemption that God had things in hand.

After years of serving, years of waiting, years of trusting, Simeon and Anna knew that their God had seen them.

Just like Elizabeth and Zechariah before them (although let’s be clear that Simeon and Anna are not a married couple), the way things happened may not have been as Simeon and Anna expected. Did Simeon think the coming Messiah would arrive as a weak and tiny infant? Did Anna imagine that the great God she worshipped would limit Himself to fragile human flesh?

Yet both fully trusted in God’s way of doing things and submitted their lives to Him, and God brought things to fulfilment.

This week, as we celebrate again the coming of our precious Jesus, we are assured that God has seen us too. Jesus’ arrival was the fulfilment of copious promises and prophecies, and His life and love ensure that we have all we need.

In the midst of our sin and shame, we have our gracious Saviour.In the midst of our distress and confusion, we have our sovereign Lord.In the midst of our loss and pain, we have our unchanging friend who comforts andheals.In the midst of our trials and troubles, we have our glorious King.

These things may not happen as we expect.

In sickness, our healing may not happen within our bodies but in our hearts. In confusion, our direction may not come through mapped-out plans but through a sense of purpose. In trials, our comfort may not come from circumstances changing but from God meeting us within the circumstances.

As we, like Simeon and Anna, trust in God’s ways and submit to Him, He will bring things to fulfilment in the way that only He can. And maybe, just maybe, this might include new additions to your family through fostering or adoption.

The Home for Good team is praying that you have a joyful Christmas. If you are feeling prompted to consider fostering or adoption we would love to talk and pray with you in the New Year. Call our enquiry line on 0300 001 0995.

Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
December 2016


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