STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete (The Freeman) - December 11, 2018 - 12:00am

Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, as was enjoined on the patriarch Abraham and his descendants, written down in the books of Moses. Since he was also the firstborn, he was to be dedicated and consecrated to the Lord as required in the book of Exodus. But the law further required Mary to remain in 33 days of her purification before she can go to the temple to offer the burnt offering and sin offering for the priest to make atonement for her. This is where they were when Simeon, led by the Holy Spirit, met them.

“…let your servant die in peace…I have seen your salvation,” Simeon exclaimed, holding the baby and praising God. He was already old but remained righteous, waiting for the savior. And God granted him the extraordinary privilege of meeting the savior at the time of his birth, one of the few who did – Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, the shepherds of the field, and Anna.

Luke described Anna as a prophetess, a woman who speaks God’s truth to others. She is the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, one of the 12 tribes of Israel, descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons. She was already old and lived with her husband for seven years before he died. Luke said either she lived as a widow until she was 84 years old, or she lived as a widow for 84 years (in which case, she must have been over 100 when she met Jesus as a baby). Whatever it is, she was really old indeed.

The Bible said she never left the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. Like Simeon, she had faith that the messiah would come, as God has promised to the elders and prophets of old, centuries ago. At that very moment, after Simeon, she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. In doing that, she may be the first missionary ever!

What is it that causes men and women to thank and praise God when we meet him in a very real way? Anna continued to speak of him. The shepherds of the field heard the message of the angels and visited Jesus at the manger, but afterwards, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. Anna could not contain herself for she has seen the living God, born as a baby.

Two thousand years later, how do we live the birth of Christ? Does it occur to us that other than the opening prayer or the perennial message, we seem not to talk about him at all? How would you feel when during your birthday, all the attendees do not even mention you or even talk to you and about you at all? That may be a point to ponder this Christmas. Let’s talk about Jesus. Let’s continue to speak of him always. Like Anna.

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