February 5, 2021

The child's father and mother were amazed
at what was being said about him.

Luke 2.33

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Presentation.  Forty days following the birth of our Lord, his parents fulfilled the requirements laid out in the Law – the purification of his mother, Mary, and Jesus’ presentation before the Lord as a firstborn son.  This festival marks a sort of culmination of this season recalling the Incarnation, God entering our humanity as the human child, Jesus.  As I joked in my sermon on Tuesday evening, the Christmas decorations really do have to come down now.  

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is recorded by only one of the four Gospel writers, Luke the Evangelist, who gives us so many of the details surrounding the birth narratives with which we are so familiar.  You can read the whole account – HERE.  

As I shared in my sermon on Tuesday evening, however, there is something about this text that caught my attention in a new way this year.  Luke records that, as those gathered ‘round are singing their praises and witnessing the presence of God incarnate, Jesus’ parents “were amazed at what was being said about him.”

They were amazed.  Keep in mind all that they have seen and heard…

Mary and Joseph were both visited by an angel in a dream, according to the Gospel accounts, a divine announcement that surely shocked them to their core.  

Mary witnessed the leaping child in the womb of her cousin, Elizabeth, the soon to be birthed forerunner, John the Baptizer, startled by the divine presence of the unborn Christ.

Joseph had, no doubt, been subject to the ridicule of friends and neighbors, family and acquaintances at his refusal to divorce Mary.

Together, these parents of Jesus heard the angelic praise at their child’s birth and welcomed shepherds, strangers, who came to pay him homage.

After all this, they are still amazed?   Yes, Luke tells us; even after so much that has confounded their every expectation, the presence of divine love utterly amazes them.

This is an enduring testimony to the surprising nature of God’s presence and power.  If even the parents of our Lord Jesus can be amazed, astounded, surprised, stunned, how much more then can we experience such startling astonishment?  

Look around, slow down, and witness the divine life in the world around you – may you never ceased to be amazed at the love of God which has come near to us all.