Anna and Simeon
"Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled."
The Sunday after Christmas brings Simeon and Anna to the fore, two faithful servants of God who had been promised that they would see the coming of the Messiah with their own eyes. And when the baby Jesus was brought to the Temple for circumcision, they were filled with assurance that the promise of God had been fulfilled. Their waiting, and their work, was finished, and they knew that they could, and would, die at peace with God.
Imagine their courage. Serving in the Temple during the Roman occupation of Israel was itself an act of bravery. Doing so having said aloud that they had been assured that the Messiah would be born while they lived, was another level of courage altogether. Declaring that this child, indistinguishable from hundreds of others was the one? Well. That took nerve, too. Risking possible arrest and likely ridicule? Lots of people have grown silent about their faith for reasons less dangerous, less compelling.
Yet Anna and Simeon had persevered: praying daily, serving in the Temple so that others could do the same, speaking their faith and making it incarnate through their service. Understanding their steadfastness, it is small wonder that when the moment came to bear witness, they were ready.
O God, Anna and Simeon finished their work, and rest now with you. Now their work is ours. May our service in the church, our prayer, our faithfulness, be sufficient when we are called to bear witness of the love, justice and mercy of Christ in the world. Amen.