22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[c] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[d] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
How wonderfully odd that God would choose a humble family with little means to raise the Savior of the world! This passage shows how God chose such a family to raise Jesus, our Lord. We know their economic plight because the aforementioned passage states that when they went to honor the purification rites, which are required by the Law of Moses, they presented a pair of doves as their sacrifice. For those who couldn’t afford a lamb, a pair of doves could be substituted in its place. They took their small means to honor God the best they could.
There were some other humble people who were waiting for years to see the Messiah. Hanna and Simeon waited faithfully and were finally rewarded with seeing Christ. Both affirmed who he was and the prophecy about him. For both of them, to see Jesus was to see God’s salvation. Simeon revealed a key truth regarding God’s plan for man through Christ. He stated, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”
People now would be divided into two categories – saved and lost – predicated on whether they had received Christ’s provision of salvation or not. The Bible says that Christ came into the world to save sinners. Because of sin, man was separated from God. Jesus now had come to bridge that separation by being born into the world, and then dying on the cross for our sins. At the cross economic power and status mean nothing to God. He only wants to know your standing with Jesus Christ.
As JJ Packer says, “The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.” This is the true meaning of Christmas and the message we all must share!