Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
What is the value of a child? Our readings just now are related with the commemoration of the presentation of the Lord Jesus in the temple, which, if he was born on December 25, would have been done on February 2. The Mosaic Law commands that male children be presented before the Lord, along with an offering. In this way, among other things, the Israelites are saying that they believe their children are partakers of the covenant of God, the covenant of circumcision, the covenant that says they will have an inheritance from God.
Hannah's child, Samuel, is clearly a gift of God. She had been unable to have children, but after many times of prayer, she finally became pregnant. Samuel was the child God promised her in prayer. He was to be dedicated to the service of God in the temple from his youth.
We'll make a brief side note here. "Everyone" knows the temple was not built until after the death of King David, who was anointed king by Samuel. However, the place of worship described in 1 Samuel seems to be a permanent building, not simply the tabernacle we read about in the Pentateuch. Recent archaeological study has located what seems to be a permanent place of worship, in Shiloh, as described in 1 Samuel. Sometimes it is called a temple, but it is not of the grand type built by Solomon.
Hannah knows that she is going to send her child away to be a servant of God, full-time. She takes advantage of the times she has with her child, to nurture him and remind him that he has a caring family. But she is going to give her child over.
This is a sign of the New Testament fulfillment, the true "prophet" like Moses, who also serves as a priest, and as a king. Samuel fills the bill part of the way, but the work is actually completed in Jesus, who is given over by his mother from the very time of conception. She ponders in her heart how God is the Father, how he will live a perfect life, and how he will die for the sins of the world, including her sin.
The Christ child is the truly precious one. While we welcome all children, Jesus is the one we were really looking for.
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