December 19, 2008


Luke 2:21-38

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
Luke 2:33


Joseph and Mary honored their traditions carefully. They had their newborn son circumcised eight days after he was born, as prescribed in ancient Jewish law. Since he was their firstborn son, they presented him to the priests at the temple, in obedience to what God had commanded his people. They also waited thirty-three days after the baby’s circumcision before coming again to ensure Mary’s purification after the delivery of her child. They even brought the sacrifice recommended for those who could not afford a lamb—“a pair of doves or two young pigeons” (see Leviticus 12).

But no tradition prepared them for what happened next. As they entered the temple courts holding baby Jesus, two old people pounced on them as if they had been waiting their entire lives for this visit. First Simeon and then Anna said things about their son that made Joseph and Mary marvel. “Consolation of Israel”?! “A light for revelation to the Gentiles”?! How did these people know? Mary and Joseph had witnessed many surprises in the past months, so they may have been learning to expect the unexpected, but still …

God is a God of surprises! Of course, the greatest surprise was yet to come: the surprise of God’s redeeming grace—the way it was won for us and the scope of its impact. There’s so much for us to marvel about!

Dear God, we love it when you say, “Surprise!” We love your surprises of the past and your surprises today. We look forward to all you have in store for the life to come. Amen.

About the author — David Den Haan

Pastor Dave Den Haan has served at Fairway Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan, since 1999. Previously he served a church in Minnesota. Dave and his wife, Connie, have three children.

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