getting out the Word

the 1st sunday of christmas

the PRAYER …

Almighty God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and yet more wonderfully restored it. In your mercy, let us share the divine life of the one who came to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your peopleIsrael.”

Luke 2:22-40


Letter-by-letter! Word-for-word! That’s how most of us have been taught – trained – to read the bible. So, if the law of the Lord says two turtledoves, then two turtledoves it is! Nothing more! And certainly, nothing less! Unfortunately, there’s more to it. Beneath the letters! Behind the words! Leviticus 12, for instance, is the reason for this particular offering. And it doesn’t prescribe just two turtledoves. It imposes, “a lamb in its first year and a turtledove!” But there’s an alternative, a loop hole … “If she cannot afford a sheep, she shall take two turtledoves ….”

You see, Luke wasn’t interested in simply telling us about the sacrifice, that day. He wanted us to know something more. About Joseph! About Mary! About Jesus! They weren’t rich! They weren’t middle-class! They were poor! Ordinary! Common! So, imagine the surprise when Simeon takes that ‘underprivileged,’ ‘less-fortunate’ baby in his arms and says, “Thank you! Thank you, god, for giving me a glimpse of our tomorrow! Thank you for allowing me to see your future! This child who can’t afford a lamb will be one! The one who saves the lowest and the least is himself lowest and least! And this pauper … this pauper will be our prince!