On Monday this week I attended the funeral of a distant cousin, and although it was a sad occasion it was good to get together afterwards to share family memories, look over old photographs (there was one of me when I was less than a year old), and meet people I hadn’t seen for a long while – and whose names I had difficulty remembering. There is a saying that says we only meet distant relations when there is an occasion in the family; happy or sad – I think it carries a certain amount of truth.
This coming Sunday we celebrate Candlemas, the time when Mary and Joseph brought the young Jesus to be presented in the Temple. It was the tradition in those days to offer the first-born son to service in the temple. Whilst at the Temple they were greeted by two people – Simeon and Anna. Each in their own way recognised that Jesus was special; as Simeon said, “my eyes have seen your salvation” and Anna stated “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed…” They had a vision of what was to come in Jesus’ life – his death and resurrection.
As we look forward in this year of 2024, I wonder what situations in life we will face? As Simeon and Anna saw hope in Jesus the child, may we have hope and encouragement as we live out our lives, and invite Jesus the man into our lives, to be alongside us in the happy and sad times that we will face. We never know what is around the corner, yet we need not face it alone, but with the support and comfort of Jesus Christ.
With God’s Peace and Blessing through 2024.