Six weeks after the birth of Christ the Savior of the world that Moses hoped for and Isaiah prophesied about, Anna and Simeon experience the light of revelation.
Anna came to the Temple and made it her home. He husband had died after only seven years of marriage. Anna bears the aching loneliness of grief for decades and decades. Anna the daughter of Phanuel and a prophet knows pain and isolation. She also knows longing. Slowly her longing changed. Not for her husband who was lost but for Him who was to come. For Him who is the source of longing and desire. Him who fashioned love and breathes hope into our lives.
Anna dwells in the Temple for many years; an old women now 84 years old. She believes and is waiting for a greater light to dawn. She watches and prays and hopes.
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2 v 36 – 38)
There is another in the Temple today – Old Simeon. Like Anna he has been waiting a lifetime. He waits for the light that is beyond the light of the morning. A light that is brighter and deeper than the noonday sun at its height. He, like Anna, believes that light is coming.
Then it happened. A moment that changes history, but is of itself undramatic and unnoticed. No clouds parted and no great lights shone. Everyone gets on with their business. An older man and a tired younger woman come into the temple looking about them anxiously to find where to go and what to do and carrying with them something precious.
The light has come into the world, but the world does not know it. The light has dimmed itself in the grey ambiguity of life.
The couple have come for purification, as the Law of Moses prescribes; every first born male must be designated as holy to the Lord. So the couple do what they have come to do. Then Simeon arrives, his eyes darting this way and that, searching the faces in the crowd. Then he sees them, even though every one else carries on just the same, he rushes up to them, sweeps them up in his goodness and delight. The couple, the tiny little child; the light of the world come among us.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2 v 29 – 32)
A light that burns more brightly than the sun. A light that kindles the fire in human hearts. A light has come among us. It came suddenly, like the dawning of the day. It has been prepared for from the beginning of time. The light and darkness that were separated from the beginning of creation are united again, and one has overcome the other.