On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 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.”
Purification rites would have been required 40 days after Jesus’ birth. Consecrate means to set apart for God’s use.
What do you imagine the conversations between Mary and Joseph were like just after Jesus was born? A week later? A month later?
Knowing what they had been told about their baby, do you think Mary and Joseph had any hesitation about presenting Jesus at the temple?
Is any emotion evoked in you when you speak the name, “Jesus”? Describe it.
How do you feel when you hear someone use the name of Jesus in anger or frustration?
Jesus, my Lord. Your name evokes in me a love beyond compare. Forgive me the times your name has escaped my mouth as a curse or out of anger or frustration. My heart breaks to know how this grieves you. When I hear your name, I see eyes that penetrate my soul and cried for me, arms spread wide enough to encompass even me, a body beaten and broken for me, and a mouth that knows my name. But Lord, I also see a glorious and fierce light, a strong arm that pulls me up, and an ocean of grace. Jesus. Lord Jesus.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom
his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
In Latin Vulgate, “Glory to God in the highest” is translated “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.”
Why do you think the company of heavenly host appeared to praise God before the shepherds?
How do you picture the shepherds as the angels descended and began singing? What did they do? How did they feel?
Can you think of a time when you said, “I can’t believe that happened!”? What were you referring to? Was it something you could see or touch or hear?
Oh Father, thank you that Jesus happened. Here. On earth! Thank you that you came to be with us, Immanuel. Thank you for yet another reminder that Jesus isn’t a concept, but someone who happened, someone who occurred and came to pass. Lord, I want to be a person who sings, “Glory to God in the highest!” Glory to you, Lord, not to me. When your glory is revealed, let me be the first to sing your praise, to go and see, to stand in awe. Let this not just be a refrain I sing, but a life I live.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me
for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name.”
This section of Scripture (along with six more verses) is a hymn referred to as the Magnificat, which means “glorifies” in Latin Vulgate.
How do you imagine Mary’s posture as she says these words? In what position are her arms? Her hands? The rest of her body?
When did you last feel your soul glorify, or worship, the Lord? What did it feel like?
What does it mean to you to be humble in the sight of God?
Father in heaven, I lift my hands and fix my eyes on you. I am here on this earth, praying that your will would be done in my life, in my family, this day. I want nothing but for my soul to glorify you and my spirit to rejoice in knowing you. Lord, when I seek my own glory, remind me gently that you made me, that you are the creator, that you are God. Be gracious to me, Father, grant me mercy as you transform me and I learn how to walk in humility and gratitude. You have done great things for me, your name is above all names.