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December 31, 2017

Hope Fulfilled

The mothers and young children filled the room with song, dancing, scarves, bubbles, and bouncing balls. Most of the participants knew the songs well and would get really excited when their favorite song began. It looked like any other young children’s music and play group, except for the circle surrounding the circle. This play group was taking place in a retirement home, and the little ones would toddle back and forth to their “grandfriends,” giving and receiving a mutual blessing, along with a ball or scarf.

We are hard-wired to be in relationship and in community, and yet we can easily organize systems that keep us apart and distanced from one another. Like the gardener who awaits a new shoot of green in the garden, older generations await new ones to come along in their place, bringing new life. Young ones eagerly long to be accepted and received, indeed adopted into the belonging that comes in extended family.

So it is with Anna and Simeon. Their well-being is wrapped up in this baby being presented. Today’s story invites us to look back to the distant past, be present in their longing, and cast our hope with them into the future.

Simeon conveys a sense of relief and completion, indeed a sense of peace after a long wait for the Messiah. It sounds as if it has been a long, arduous wait. The rhythm of Simeon’s song helps the Christian people along the liturgical path of endings and beginnings: hope fulfilled and hope still longed for.