Jesus ‘ presentation in the Temple by Mary and Joseph gave two of God’s veteran servants an experience both of them had hoped for. Simeon had been given a promise by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Christ before he died (Luke 2:26), Anna, too, lived night and day in the Temple with her own unique expectations (Luke 2:37).
Both were united in their desire to see “the consolation of Israel” (2:25) and “the redemption of Jerusalem” (2:38).
Simeon and Anna’s window is the window of celebration. It included their personal joys, but extended beyond them to Jerusalem and Israel. This kind if experience reveals that our best celebrations occur when through them we realize something larger than ourselves is going on.
Advent brings joy to individual hearts and homes. But it is an experience of being gathered into a global consolation and a cosmic redemption. Our lives and locations are annual confirmations that God is at work in ways we can experience, but never contain. We are “lost in wonder, love and praise” (Charles Wesley’s way of putting it)–we are caught up into Mystery.
The roots of celebration go back to the beginning of creation itself, and the branches of our joy reach into God’s new heaven and new earth. That’s what Simeon and Anna were part of the first Advent, and what we are part of now.