Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph’s sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, shows that Mary and Joseph were very poor. Once in the temple, Jesus was "anointed" by the prayer of Simeon, in the presence of Anna the prophetess. Simeon, upon seeing the Messiah, gave thanks to the Lord, singing a hymn.
“God, you can now release your servant, release me in peace as you promised. With my own eyes I have see your salvation, it is now out in the open for everyone to see. A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and the glory for your people Israel.”
Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother:
“This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel. A figure misunderstood and contradicted - the pain of a sword-thrust through you – But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are.” (From The Message)
Simeon thus foreshadowed the crucifixion of Jesus and the sorrows of Mary at seeing the death of her Son.
Here are my “poetic musings” on this feast:
A presentation in the temple. A mother purified according to the Law. A child anointed, blessed, and praised. A child cradled in the feeble arms of faithful Simeon. Simeon ~ one not to experience death until his eyes beheld his Savior. Yet within his embrace, he holds the one named - Amazing Counselor, Strong God, and Prince of Peace!
Anna ~ Prophetess, temple-dweller, and widowed-worshiper gives praise and thanks with full voice for this child of redemption. She has fasted, prayed, and waited eagerly to be filled with the richness of this sacred moment.
Both old ones, fragile in age and sight, now experience crystal clear vision of the God-child – the awaited one who now rests upon their breasts; the child receives blessings, praise, and anointing in this ritual of purification.
A quiet knowing energy whispers through the hearts of these holy ones, for in a time yet to be, this child will one day be held in the arms of his grieving mother upon removal from his cross of contradiction. He will be touched with fragrant oils of anointing once again as he is presented within his Passover tomb. Within this temple of rock, he will be embraced by Mother Earth, clasped to her breast - only to enter the deep mystery of redemptive resting, waiting, readying to RISE with sun-energy! Alleluia!
And so little child, grow in the wisdom of the Spirit, and in favor of God. Your time has come; your hour is now - for you will preach the Good News to the poor, announce pardon to prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind, set the burdened and battered free, and proclaim - THIS IS GOD’S YEAR TO ACT!
Child of Favor, O Child Anointed - Child Embraced – teach us to release all that is held captive and oppressed within our spirits; teach us to know and gently embrace the wisdom deep within our souls that will free us so that we, too, may proclaim Good News, be GOOD NEWS! Amen! Amen!