The Mother of God, obedient to the teachings of the Old Testament, presents the Christ Child to the Temple forty days after His birth. The icon depicts St. Symeon’s encounter with the infant Messiah. Symeon had been promised that he would not see death until he beheld the "Anointed of the Lord." Upon seeing the Child Symeon praises God saying: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."
The imagery of this event depicts Symeon as all that was good, all that was God-seeking in the Old Testament community. Thus, in the person of Symeon we see that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ! Now we are illuminated by the dawn of a new promise, the Age of Redemption and salvation in Christ our Lord.
The icon also depicts the Prophetess Anna who was in the Temple the day Jesus was presented in accordance with the law of Moses. She acknowledges the Infant Jesus as the Redeemer of humankind by telling everyone about the redemption of Israel. In some icons of this event she holds a scroll that reads: "This child has created the heaven and the earth!"
We continue to follow this example when presenting our children to the Church for a blessing on the fortieth day after their birth. This pious practice of the faithful enables us to rediscover Christ, to meet Him again, and to affirm Him as our Lord and Savior. It does not stop, however, at this forty day blessing of a child.
In the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple, two young pigeons are offered to God’s House by Joseph and the Theotokos. They thank God in offering their material goods. The promise to Symeon is fulfilled as he sees with his own eyes the Savior; the prayers of the prophetess are answered as she beholds the Redeemer because the Lord blesses those who follow Him. Faithful STEWARDSHIP is our acknowledgement that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Pray with your family and beseech God to direct you in your participation in the holy ministry of our Church. Then give to your Church as God has prospered you.
See: Leviticus 12:2-4; Luke 2:22-38
To learn more, visit the Department of Stewardship.