1 John 2:12-17
Psalm 96:7-8, 8-9, 10
The readings for today, the Sixth Day in Octave of Christmas, say that this is a day for rejoicing and thanking God. No matter what Santa left in our stockings a few days ago, our faith tells us that Christ comes to us, both on Christmas and on every new day.
The Gospel passage, about the 87-year-old Anna, seems deliberately chosen for me to reflect on. Although I'm not actually THAT old, it's pretty obvious around here that I'm an Older Woman. I'm not Anna, with her rather unusual life story of early widowhood and a long life dedicated to prayer. My life is far more ordinary, but my years give me memories and phrases for today's rejoicing and thanksgiving.
The Gospel is part of the story of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple -- to use the title of the Mystery of the Rosary as I was first taught it in my long-ago childhood. Another line I remember from long ago is from a meditation on another Joyful Mystery: "Let Christ's coming be constantly renewed in our hearts by fervent prayer."
So I rejoice with Anna, who lived long enough to see the child Jesus, and who had prayed fervently, constantly, and thus knew who that baby was. The reading indicates that not only Anna but others at that time were "awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." So are we all, constantly, always waiting, for Christ to come into our hearts with each new day.
Also in this Gospel, having presented their son at the Temple in
the great city of Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph went back home to their ordinary
town of Nazareth, and lived a normal life, and their baby grew up.
So do we all: we have Christmas, and then we return to live our blessed
days in the midst of ordinary life. The traffic piles up at the stoplight;
the phone rings; the TV or the CD resounds. We do laundry or buy
food or wash dishes. This is the blessed real life we live in, day
by day. And still this is our Christmastime, constantly renewed in
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