Signpost for 27 November, 2001, First Sunday of Advent: Isa 2:1-5; Ps 122; Rom 13:11-14; Matt 24:36-44.
Advent begins in the Gospels before the coming of Jesus. Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna are portrayed as waiting for this birth.
Simeon is a good devout man. The Holy Spirit is with him.
“I am waiting. God is faithful. God has given me a promise that these eyes of mine will see his Messiah. I wait for that promise to be fulfilled. I wait here in God’s house. I am very old now. People ask me why I have to wait so long, but each day of waiting increases my faith in God. Perhaps my idea of God’s Messiah was too little when I was younger. I am waiting.”
Anna is the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, and very old. Eighty four years then were as hard on a person as many more in today’s world.
“I live here in the Temple. I do not need any other home. Here in God’s home I can pray to God, here I can fast as an offering to God. I have been a widow for sixty years now. Sometimes God speaks to me, and I speak to people about God and what he has said to me. They call me a prophetess. All I know is that God has a special gift waiting for his people. God will set his people free.”
Mary is very young. Her simple trust in God is combined with a passionate concern for the poor and down-trodden.
“I wish we did not have to go to Bethlehem for the census just now. It is so difficult to travel with the baby due so soon. But it will be wonderful to visit Bethlehem. It is only a little village, but it is the birthplace of King David. My baby will be a king like David, a king for the common people; that is what God is telling me. I do not understand this, but we will go to Bethlehem.”
Joseph, according to Matthew, was a man who did what was right.
“I do not know how we will manage this journey. It is hard for my Mary to travel just now. These Romans make me angry with their census and their taxes. And what will happen if the baby is born on the journey, or in some horrible little Inn in Bethlehem. This baby is going to be someone special, I know that. I suppose I had better load the donkey.”
Happy journeys, everyone.
P.S. Sheila, George, Andrew and myself are taking our annual break from Signposting for a while. We begin again in February 2017. Thank you all for keeping us going.
May each one of you be blessed, with the spirit of the season, which is peace; with the joy of the season, which is hope, and with the heart of the season, which is love.