I learned this morning that February 2nd is the day the church traditionally observes the presentation of Christ in the temple. Luke describes this significant moment in Luke 2:22-40, when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple, with the "poor people's" offering of two doves. There, they encounter the priest Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who both proclaim amazing things about this baby boy. Can you imagine what it was like to be Simeon and Anna, to know you've been waiting for something for almost your whole life, and to finally behold it with your own eyes?! What a thrill! What a wonder! But what was it like for Mary and Joseph? Sure, they'd heard from angels, and lots of crazy things had happened, that should have clued them in that this child was not any ordinary child, but to hear it from the mouths of two different people, in the temple, when they came just to do an ordinary ceremony? I bet it was scary. I bet they wondered what they were in for. I wonder if they doubted, if they were uncertain of what to do next. I think I would have been, if I were in their shoes.
Isn't it kind of like that for each of us, after we learn who Jesus really is? We may wonder at the stories we read and hear, and we may try to wrap our minds around a Savior of the universe who could come and be born as a little baby, just like each one of us. And then, when we read what he taught and we see how he lived, we're just a bit uncomfortable. We might read Anna and Simeon's claims and wish that we, too, could be so sure, could feel the Spirit so strongly as to be certain of who this Jesus is. Our faith is always a journey. Sometimes we know who Jesus is, are sure he is Lord of our lives, and then other times we stumble and feel like he's left us behind. Sometimes we can proclaim his good news, can know for certain the salvation he offers, and other times, feel like we're completely unsalvageable.
But Jesus is still there. He's still all the things Simeon and Anna claimed he was. He's still offering us grace and love, asking us to change our hearts and lives and follow him. It's never easy, but it's a blessing to try.
Who is Jesus, in your life? I pray for his peace for you today, friends. Let him be what scripture claims him to be...and follow him along the way. He'll surprise you, I bet. But he'll also be right there with you, no matter what. Thanks be to God. Amen.