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And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (Luke 2:22 ESV) Today is the Day of Salvation! The Christ has been born! As we celebrate these holy days of Christmastide, we recognize the importance of God’s action to save us at the appointed time, and how that then alters time for us all as He pulls us into His eternal presence.

Time is a tricky thing. Sometimes it seems as if time moves slowly. We feel like the things for which we wait will never arrive. A newborn’s needs seem to be unending. Time can sometimes move so slowly! Other times, we might feel like time is running away from us! In prepping for a big presentation, a new assignment at work, an exam at school, or suddenly the marriage of that child we held in our arms when they were just moments into the world, we can feel like there is nothing we can do to slow time down. Time seems to slip away from us and leaves us scrambling. This is when we need to remember the importance of the here and now.

This day, the First Sunday after Christmas, is often also a kind of moment when time has either slipped away or seems endlessly slow. I think that is why Simeon’s word today spoken in the Spirit gives us an anchor in which we can hold fast. He simply says, “Now!” What God had revealed to him through the Spirit - that he would not die until he had seen the Christ - has come to be. The time for release, dismissal, departure is now! Luke tells us about these two people who encountered the Christ child, now forty-days old on that day in the Temple – one was Simeon. The other was Anna, a widow and advanced in age – 84 to be precise. Both of them see this little family come to the Temple just as Moses had prescribed. While Joseph and Mary were too poor to afford the sacrificial lamb, they were allowed the substitute of two turtle doves to remember that this Child belonged to the Lord. Both of them were waiting. Both of them saw what they were waiting for – God’s salvation, His redemption, the Lord’s consolation.

While we may sometimes struggle to always be present, at least mentally, God has broken in! Jesus is here! Now! In the most mundane way possible, He comes to us in the simple means of bread and wine, the words on a page, and water spilled over our heads. His Spirit, the same Spirit that opened the eyes of Simeon and the tongue of Anna NOW is here to open our EYES to SEE Jesus - entering the temple, fulfilling the Law, being the sacrifice, we are too poor to afford.  Yes, His grace opens our eyes and NOW we see His love and grace for us and for all. Jesus’ entry into our lives NOW gives us hope to live in the NOW, not for ourselves but for those still lost in the unrecoverable yesterdays and the unapproachable tomorrows.  His grace not only sends us out in peace but is the peace we now share in and through our daily living.  Like Simeon and Anna, NOW we see and NOW we share!

Pastor Carl