When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
It is amazing that Mary said “yes” to God via the Angel, Gabriel. But, what most folks don’t know is how much she knew that she was saying “yes” to for all of Eternity. Mary knew not only what she heard from Gabriel at the Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38), but also what the angel told Joseph in his dream (Matthew 1:18–25), what Elizabeth told Mary by the Holy Spirit at the Visitation (Luke 1:39–56), what Gabriel told Zechariah about his own son John (Luke 1:5–23), what the shepherds told Mary at the Nativity that they had heard from the heavenly host (Luke 2:8–20), and what Simeon and Anna told Mary at the Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22–38). But, we often forget the Messianic Prophesies from the Old Testament – which also included the foreshadowing of the Messiah’s suffering and sacrifice. She would have known that the Messiah would be a willing sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-18), be the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:1-51), be forsaken and pierced, but vindicated (Psalm 22:1-31), be the righteous sufferer (Psalm 69), be the rejected cornerstone (Psalm 118:22-24), be the suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13–53:12), be the object of a murderous plot (Jeremiah 31:15), and be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). The Book of Isaiah is highly-descriptive of the Messiah’s call and His inevitable fate in bringing redemption to the world. Mary read the fine print before she “signed” and was then constantly reminded of the covenant that she had made with God after Jesus was born. And, let’s not forget, she was around the age of 14 when she accepted God’s calling. She is Eternally-revered for her Godly example and has been rewarded by God accordingly. It’s easy to romanticize Mary’s story and forget that we are all being called daily by God. Mary only read the 1st part of the Bible via the Jewish Torah, but we have the benefit of being able to read and finish the entire Book. We can now know how it all happened and we can even know the ending. The question for each of us is how will we be written into the last chapter(s) of the Story and, eventually, into the Book of Life. I encourage us all to measure the gravity of the choice to answer the Call of God and to actively listen to Him and seek His counsel. As with Mary, God will never steer us wrong.