A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Sixth Day of Christmas: December 30 (Luke 2:36-40)

On the sixth day of Christmas, God’s true Love gave to me…

…curiosity about a silent prophet.

Today’s gospel text concludes the story of the presentation in the temple, after which the family returns to Nazareth to make their home.

Simeon was not the only righteous person in the temple who recognized who Jesus was and for whom his presence in the temple was meaningful. The elderly Anna, a “prophet” of at least 84 years, was there as well. In fact, we are told that she “never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day”. Seeing the infant with his parents, she rushes to him, praising God and telling all who had been looking for the coming of the Messiah that in this tiny baby, their desire was fulfilled. Simeon’s words are recorded for posterity (and Evening Prayer), but Anna’s are not. What might her song of praise have sounded like? Why is her voice silenced? Prophets, we know, tell the truth even when the truth is uncomfortable. Why truth did Anna tell?

After this important ritual of purification and presentation has been completed, Joseph and Mary make their home in Nazareth, where it is assumed that Joseph resumes his carpenter’s trade. The young Jesus grows in wisdom, and finds favor with God.

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