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Guided by the Spirit

Presentation of the Lord

  • 3-6 year olds

For the last 3 Sundays, we have been listening to Gospel accounts of Jesus' life as an adult. This Sunday though, we are taking a look at one more account of Jesus as a baby. We hear about two more people who get to see Jesus. Not shepherds, not wise men, but two very good old Jewish people, Anna and Simeon.

The meeting takes place at the Temple. The Temple is the most holy place in the great city of Jerusalem. It is holy because it is God's place, and so it is very right that Mary and Joseph should bring Jesus there. It is like he is coming home, isn't it?

The Temple is a very busy place. Each day, people come from all over the city of Jerusalem to pray at the Temple. Travellers from all over Israel and from foreign countries come to Jerusalem just to visit the Temple. Mary and Joseph and their baby are only one family among many hundreds of families visiting the Temple. Even so, somehow both Anna and Simeon--two people Mary and Joseph have never met before--recognize their baby son. How do they do this? And what do they know about him?

Simeon is an old man. He is very good and,

the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Now listen: there is no angel to tell Simeon that Jesus is born, and there is no star for Simeon to follow to find Jesus. So how does he know to go to the Temple exactly at that time on that day? How does he know who Jesus is?

Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God

Who showed him Jesus? The Holy Spirit!

And what does he know about this baby? Simeon says,

my eyes have seen your salvation,   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,  a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

A light! A great light! The light of the world! When he is a grown-up, Jesus says,

“I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

And salvation--everything for a full life with God--abundant life. When he teaches about the Good Shepherd, Jesus says,

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b)

Simeon knows these things about Jesus now, before Jesus grows up to say them about himself! How can he know?

This must be what the Holy Spirit does. The same Holy Spirit who comes to us at our baptism. So this makes me wonder, does the Holy Spirit show us Jesus today? Does the Holy Spirit help us to know things about Jesus today?

This is so good. We can be like Anna, the old woman who lives and prays in the Temple night and day. We can praise God. That means, we can say how God is good, how much we love Jesus, how the Holy Spirit helps us.

How shall we praise God?

O God, I want to tell you...

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