For those in the northern hemisphere, these days are short and there are many hours of darkness. Halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, winter feels long and bleak. Today though, in the Feast of the Presentation, we are reminded that—even in the darkness of winter—Jesus, the Light of the World, is here!
Mary and Joseph, in obedience to the Mosaic Law, bring the Christ Child to the temple to offer Him to God. Simeon and Anna, devoted to prayer and sacrifice, are in the temple that day and they recognize the Light that has come into their midst. It is precisely their time of contemplation that has prepared their souls for this pivotal meeting. Their prayer has brought them in tune with the Holy Spirit, Who opens their eyes to see the Son of God before them. In this meeting of Simeon and Anna with Christ, we see the meeting of the Old and New Testaments.
Simeon then bursts into his canticle, reiterating the Epiphany message that Christ is the “light for revelation to the Gentiles.” Christ is the Light Who enlightens us!
Yet, in this Light, there is also an indication of shadows. Simeon foretells the suffering that our Blessed Mother will experience: the sword of sorrow that will pierce her heart. Saint John Paul II calls this prophecy Mary’s second Annunciation: “She will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior.”
Many of us have stored away our Christmas decorations. Yet, the Feast of the Presentation today is a Christmas feast, and also points us forward to the light of the Paschal Candle at Easter. Jesus is the Light, come to destroy the darkness of death through His death and resurrection.
Like Simeon and Anna, am I committed to daily prayer and sacrifice, to prepare my soul to recognize Jesus, the Light, and to be enlightened by Him?
Thank you, Lord, for dispelling the darkness and bringing the light of Your love! Help me when I am feeling depressed and discouraged to find hope in You and to be obedient in my faith, just like my Blessed Mother.