Simeon, a righteous and devout man of Israel, had received a revelation from the Holy Spirit that before his death he would behold the Messiah, “the Christ of the Lord” (Lk 2:26). We do not know how long Simeon was waiting, we do not know how old he was when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple. How many people had crossed his path, how many times must he have turned his head wondering when a family brought a male child to be presented to the Lord, “Is this the one?”
Today we recall the presentation of Jesus in the temple, the day in which Simeon’s waiting, his growing anticipation, comes to fulfillment. “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel” (cf. Lk 2:29-32). He can now go to his eternal rest in peace.
We can see in the presentation of Jesus more than a pious act though. In this event, the glory of God had returned to the Temple in the presence of this infant. What Simeon said and experienced as he held up this baby, is still true for us today. Jesus the Christ has come to us, to lead us “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9), for, Jesus is the Temple, the embodiment of the Living God, where heaven and earth meet, where the divine and human are one.
May we spend some time in prayer today imagining ourselves holding the infant Jesus in our arms, as did Simeon, looking into his eyes, and allowing his smile, his giggle, to fill us with his unconditional love and mercy. As we adjust and cradle him in the crook of our arm and reach a hand to him, allow him to grasp our finger. In that simple touch, may we experience a warmth that radiates through our entire being melting all anxiety, doubt, and/or fear away. May anything that keeps us bound to darkness and sin be loosed such that we may feel the freedom of forgiveness and reconciliation. From this moment of experiencing Jesus in our time and place, may we give our life to him so that we too may radiate the light we have received so as to forgive and love those whom Jesus sends us to encounter today.