1 John 2:12-17; Luke 2:36-40
“Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice.” Thus says today’s Psalm. So, too, says our hearts in this Christmas season! For a people who have walked in darkness, have seen a great light. We bask this day in the after glow of Christmas. It is the light we gravitate towards on these dark days of winter.
Anna, like Simeon, was part of that people shrouded in darkness; but her faith in the faithfulness of God, prepared Anna for her encounter with her salvation in the person of the child Jesus. Disciplined by prayer and vigil, on seeing Jesus she immediately began to give thanks to God, who was faithful to his covenant and sent the messiah to those “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
How do we respond to the dawning of our personal salvation this Christmas season?
Is our faith as strong as Anna’s? Is our confidence in the faithfulness of God as secure? Does this child engender for us hope in these times of conflict, division and challenge?
Anna was at peace on seeing the child Jesus, on seeing her “Christmas.” How peaceful are we after experiencing our “Christmas” yet again?
As we reflect on our personal response to the graces of Christmas, we should also reflect on how this child “grew in wisdom and grace before God and man.” This focus on Jesus should trigger in us a reflection on our own spiritual and physical development. Look to your children, nieces or nephews, grandchildren, or your self: how was their/your faith life nurtured? How hopeful we were/are for them, how ambitious we were/are for their development, how hopeful we were/are for their futures. The answer to many of these hopes resides in this Bethlehem- born baby!
Christmas is about the birth of a child, so we live and walk in hope, hopeful of the future. Christmas is about the birth of a child who is at once eternal and new, divine and human. Christmas is about the quest for truth and for goodness; the quest to quiet one’s inner fears; the quest to find the secret for living authentic human lives. Look to the Christ child, growing strong, increasing in wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. This child holds the answers to your deepest desires and needs.
Christmas is a season for one’s personal hopes to be reborn and re-energized as we commemorate again and afresh, the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. The poet T.S. Eliot noted, Christmas is “the point of intersection of the timeless with time.” Anna got this! How about you and me?
By John Schlegel