By Mike Dawson
Interim Pastor, Santa Fe Baptist Church, Santa Fe
Focal Passage: Luke 2:25-38
During the turbulent 1960’s a silver-haired lady named Iva observed the hippie movement. As young people in faded jeans invaded her church, she didn’t complain; instead she prayed for them — and those noisy teens began making commitments to Christ. Then Iva had a stroke and died suddenly. After her funeral someone remarked, “Iva somehow knew she wouldn’t live to see the end result of the renewal we’d been praying for. She just always smiled and said, “It’s all right. I’ve seen it start. I’ve held the baby.” Iva was demonstrating the spirit of the two characters in our focal passage, Luke 2:25-38.
Being ‘at church’ the day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus — just a few weeks old — to be presented in the Temple, there were some things Simeon and Anna had in common:
They were both single adults. If Simeon had a wife, she’s not mentioned; therefore our picture is of a single man. Anna was definitely single, widowed for many years. My father-in-law, as a pastor, often referred to “the widow’s mite” as the widow’s MIGHT; he said he had known many widows who were mighty in giving, in praying, in serving. Anna certainly exemplified a widow’s MIGHT!
Simeon and Anna were senior adults also. We assume Simeon was an older man since he’d been told that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. After he had held the baby, in essence he prayed, “Now let me die in peace.” We know for sure that Anna was ‘elderly,’ being somewhere between 84 and 100-plus years of age, depending on how you calculate Luke’s description. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful than to be 40 years old.” Our two senior saints were quite clearly young at heart!
Both of them were seeking adults, too. They were prominent in the CHRISTmas story because they sought a personal relationship with Christ. Luke tells us Simeon was “just and devout,” committed to Scripture, filled with the Spirit, and he believed God for the future (vv. 25-28). He was focused on the gospel: he saw in the Baby Jesus the Savior of the world (vv. 30-31), destined to die (vv. 34-35). Young-in-spirit Anna sought the Lord every time the doors opened (she “did not depart from the temple”)!
Finally, both Simeon and Anna were serving adults:
(1) They worked in church. Wouldn’t it be great if all of us were like Simeon, coming “by the Spirit into the temple” — Spirit-filled servants! Or like Anna, whom I call a “24/7/365 saint.” Luke says Anna “served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” That would be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; every day was CHRISTmas for her!
(2) They worshiped at church. Simeon ‘blessed’ God; Anna ‘thanked’ Him. A beautiful duet of praise!
(3) They witnessed after church. Simeon saw Jesus as the Light of the world and the Glory of Israel, so he witnessed passionately to Joseph and Mary. Anna left church speaking about Jesus “to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Both of them saw BEYOND that CHRISTmas celebration at church.
(By the way, I always spell it CHRISTmas — even though my spell-checker “corrects” me each time! It’s about CHRIST, not the “mas.”)