“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all the nations: a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
When we reflect on the birth of Jesus, we often think of a lowly stable on a cold night in Bethlehem, shepherds being startled by a host of angels, and a trio of star-following kings. But another figure plays an important role in the Gospel of Luke—the righteous and devout Simeon. A man of advanced age but filled with the Holy Spirit, he was told that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Spotting the infant Christ in the temple in Jerusalem, he took the baby into his arms, praised God, and blessed Mary. While this moment is not as awe-inspiring as an angelic choir or as dramatic as the quest of the three wise men, is it a beautiful picture. I can imagine the old man, cradling the new life in arms, tears in his eyes, grateful to a merciful God that allowed him to see what so many in Israel were desperately seeking—the Christ, the promised Messiah.
But the picture of the old man holding the baby Jesus is also especially poignant for us, because it encapsulates all that we do here at Anglicans for Life. Our desire is to affirm God’s gift of life and to live out Scripture’s mandate to protect the unborn, elderly, and vulnerable. While the world may see elderly people like Simeon as being old and a burden, God knew the plans He had for him and gave Simeon purpose—to witness and declare the divinity of Christ—in old age. While our culture may see an unexpected pregnancy as an inconvenience to be gotten rid of, God changed the world through the most important unexpected pregnancy, that of Jesus himself.
We don’t protect Life because it seems like a “nice” thing to do; we do it because God has declared us His creation, made from His image, and redeemed us through that same baby boy on a cross. We do it because God has promised Abundant Life for His people, which came into the world through Jesus on that Christmas so many years ago.
No matter how busy you may be this season or how many times you have heard the Christmas Story, I pray you will be touched anew this Advent Season, that you too would experience the joy that Simeon felt when seeing the infant Savior. Because Jesus did not just come into the world so we could have a celebration and gift exchange every December—He came to save you, because of God’s unfathomable, endless love. May your heart be filled with joy this Christmas and may you revel in the gift that God has given to us through His Son. I also pray that the Holy Spirit would be working within you, that you would be filled with a desire to continue serving the unborn, elderly, and vulnerable in 2019.
The Anglicans for Life family wishes you and your family a blessed Advent, Christmas, and New Year! Thank you for serving with us for Life!
Written by AFL President Deacon Georgette Forney