During Advent & Christmas, we are featuring devotionals written by clergy of the Greater NJ Annual Conference of the UMC. For this week, we are focused on reflections related to Simeon, based on the Gospel of Luke.

Luke 2:25-35 (CEB)

25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law. 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,

29 “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word,
30     because my eyes have seen your salvation.
31 You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.
32 It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
    and a glory for your people Israel.”

33 His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”


Unmarried and pregnant, Mary
caught hope in unexpected
places: an overshadowing, a trembling
Wind, her cousin with a leaping
womb, her fiancé dreaming dreams.
It held her fast like an anchor,
held her fast by a manger, waiting
for wise men, waiting for God.

In hope, we hold fast to a new year.
The years keep opening, opening
us into new spaces, newly trembling
winds. Does God dream? I am
opening my eyes in the night.
I am catching the gold, the Godhead
dancing. I am catching
the child’s gift, the waking pause.

By the Rev. Alison Van Buskirk Philip

For Pondering & Prayer

Now that epiphany is past, what has been your biggest takeaway (“epiphany”, if you will) this holiday season?

Prayer: God of Hope, be with us every moment of every day this year. Hold us close to you. Amen.