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.
The purification rituals in Israel were quite specific. The birth of a first born male was to be confirmed with a sacrifice. This stemmed from the time of the Exodus, when the angel of death took away the first born males of Egypt. In gratitude to God for preserving his people, the Israelites would make an offering. It could be a costly one, but for those of limited means, it could be pigeons or turtledoves, creatures which were easily attracted with a handful of grain.
Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple right on schedule to give thanks to God. He had preserved His people. Yet they were met at the temple by additional signs of God's preservation. Simeon, waiting for "God's consolation," greeted Jesus as the one who saves the world. Anna, an old widow devoted to fasting and prayer, gives thanks that Jerusalem is redeemed.
What do we do with this kind of news? It is news for us as it was for Mary and Joseph. They made the sacrifice, returned to Nazareth, and carried on with life. We do the same. We know that Jesus, the life of the world, has come for us. So we live our lives, run our businesses, raise our children, and carry on with joy. He has come. All will be well.
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