Remember our deal about reading the Scripture first? Before you begin, read Luke 2:22-40 or listen to it below.
I don’t know about you, but it’s starting to feel like this is never going to end. It’s starting to feel like my social circle has decreased in size to about 8 people, and most of that communication is via text messaging. It’s starting to feel like I’ll never be in a classroom again, like we’ll never gather again for Bible study, like I’ll never casually commit to lunch with friends.
It’s also starting to feel like this is how it’s always been.
The “social distancing” routine was never a good kind of new, but it was new. And as a result, it required extra focus and creativity. We had to figure out how to do things. There was a whir of activity as we set up new systems and transitioned out of one routine into another.
I hesitate to call this new situation a “routine” because it feels so far from that to me, but it has become mundane and monotonous nonetheless. We’ve settled into it, and it no longer requires the energy or focus that it did at first.
I woke up one morning last week, and I told the Lord: I’m bored.
And I think that what He whispered back was this: Persevere.
I don’t think He’s calling us to a passive existence. I think He’s calling us to action. Perseverance is not for the faint of heart. Perseverance requires energy, endurance, focus, determination.
It requires that we wake up in the morning and intentionally focus our eyes on Him.
He’s given us the power of His Spirit to live by. Let’s use it! Let’s lead lives that require it! Even if those lives currently occur predominantly within the square footage of our homes.
It makes me think about a woman named Anna.
Her life was lived predominantly within the House of the Lord. Whether she lived near the Temple grounds or simply centered her life around that holy place, the Word of God tells us that “she did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day” (Luke 2:37). And she lived that way for the majority of her life.
But one day, in the middle of her many days, her life intersected with the Man of Christ. Or, more accurately—with the Baby Christ.
She was going about her day, as she had for a whole lot of years. She was doing the things she knew to do. She was doing what was in front of her. Even when others didn’t. Even when it wasn’t fancy. Even when it wasn’t seen. Perhaps even when it was a little bit boring.
And coming up at that very hour. (Luke 2:38)
At what very hour? At the very hour that a young couple carried their Newborn into the temple: Mary and Joseph carried the Son of God into the House of God.
Take a moment and let that settle in. It’s a big deal.
The King had come. The glory of God was wrapped in flesh and laid in the arms of a man named Simeon, who proclaimed Him the Christ.
At that very hour, Anna came up. The holiest of hours. How many hours had she walked the same path? How many hours had she knelt in the same place? How many hours had she trusted what she could not see? How many hours were made up of moments that blended right into the next?
And then that hour.
Anna recognized, in the Infant’s wrinkled forehead, the very Face of God. Perhaps she looked into the squinting eyes of the One for whom she’d waited, of the One whom she had served. Perhaps she kissed the top of His head and whispered love and thanks and praise.
That hour. And then it passed. It’s likely that the next day looked a lot like the one before. But Anna had seen Jesus. Her days might have been the same afterward, but she would never be.
Long years of faithful moments had tendered Anna’s heart to recognize the face of her God. She had known He would come.
And so do we:
The angels told Jesus’ followers, as He ascended to the right hand of the Father: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into Heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
What if these mundane moments taught us to search for Him, positioned us to see Him, grew in us the perseverance we will need for lives lived longing for His return?
As we go from the laundry room to the kitchen for the fourteenth time. As we send the thousandth email or respond to the millionth message. As we try to figure it all out and finally admit that we cannot. As we smear the peanut butter and jelly. As we fight the boredom or endure the overwhelm. As we read. As we let the dog out. As we walk around familiar rooms of a world that feels so strangely unfamiliar.
As we do whatever it is we do on the most monotonous and mundane of days.
What if all those moments were somehow lived with the readiness of Anna?
Might we recognize Christ when we see Him?
Might we trust Him even when we don’t?
What do your days look like in this season? Are they hard? Are they boring? Are they full of chaos you’re unaccustomed to or devoid of the action you’re used to? What looks different this month than it did in January?
What had Simeon declared about that Baby in Luke 2:25-32? What was the significance of that moment?
Read Acts 1:6-11. What strikes you about Jesus’ ascension? What do you learn about His return?
What would it look like in your own life to cultivate faithfulness in your mundane moments so that you’ll recognize Christ in those moments when He appears so clearly? Where and how can you position yourself to be present and attentive when He shows up?
Even has we are called and equipped to live fully in the present, we are also meant to long for Him in ways we do not see Him yet.
Just like Anna did.
She didn’t miss Him. And I don’t want to either.
TODAY: Carry a piece of paper or a journal throughout this week and write down moments when you see the Lord, however small or mundane they may seem.
AND TO COME: Also, ask Him to begin to grow in you a longing for His returning. We need to know the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit today and everyday. But some of the hope and perseverance that we need stems from Christ’s promised return. Tell Him what you know of His return. Tell Him what frightens or overwhelms you about it. Tell Him what confuses you. Begin (or continue) to engage with Him about His promise to come back.