A DARK SHADOW
"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.'
"Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshipping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem." Luke 2:33-38 (The Message).
A cloud passed over the son!
Simeon was a realist. He had to tell the whole story as it had been revealed to him. He saw only dimly the road ahead for the little angel who slept in Mary's arms, but he knew that it was a way of pain for mother and son. Jesus would have to endure the hatred and rejection of His own people and the humiliation of Roman torture at the instigation of the religious leaders while His mother looked on helplessly and suffered with Him.
Mary was soaking everything up like a sponge. She had to keep her feet firmly on the ground. The road for the little boy she held in her arms was not going to be strewn with roses. Although He was a perfect child like no other, there would be pain for her and Him as they walked the road of their destiny as mother and son.
Only a mother can identify with Mary. Jesus was her boy, her firstborn. Every emotion a mother feels when she cradles her firstborn in her arms after the agony of childbirth was pulsating through her being. She had such hopes and dreams for her son -- fired by the angelic message she had heard nine months before. But there was also a warning from the old man. 'Mary, stay on the ground. There's going to be pain before you see the final outcome. Be prepared, but remember -- God's in charge!'
Simeon, a nobody; Anna, a somebody -- they were in it together. Simeon was just Simeon. Anna had a name, an office, a pedigree. God was not about any earthly who's who. Both of them qualified to be in on the secret by other criteria: they lived God. He was their source, their life, their focus. That was all that mattered.
Anna was not a mother, so it seems, but she vicariously celebrated motherhood through the little scene she entered that morning. But it was motherhood far above the ordinary -- a privileged mother and a unique child -- Israel's Messiah at last! Like Simeon, she had been worshipping and waiting and now, at last, He was here.
The wizened old woman, well over a hundred years old, was so invigorated by what she had just encountered that she couldn't keep her mouth shut. She had to tell everyone she met that she had seen the Messiah. At last, her final chapter had also been written.
There were two funerals in Jerusalem shortly afterwards -- Simeon and Anna, laid to rest, complete, satisfied, content because their beloved Israel was in good hands!
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