Advent Devotional: Friday, December 14

Keith Stillwell

Second Week of Advent: Peace
Friday, December 14, 2012

Babies at Temple and Church (Luke 2:21-38)

When baby Jesus was eight days old, Mary and Joseph, took him to the Temple to offer sacrifices on his behalf as was “customary under the law” (Luke 2:27). There he received the blessings of the devout Simeon, perhaps a priest or prophet, and the prophet Anna. Baby Jesus could not have remembered this visit and certainly would not have understood the prophetic words spoken of him if he was even awake. Perhaps the smoke from the sacrificial fires, the bleating of sheep, and the bustle of the crowd at the Temple, made him cry. So why bother to bring a baby to the Temple? Because Mary and Joseph’s commitment and obedience to God mattered. The blessings of God’s people would help nurture Jesus in the faith. And, though at eight days, he would not understand the words, he would feel the love. In the arms of Simeon and Anna he would be warm and secure. This was the beginning of a lifetime of learning that this was a place, and these were a people, of God.
When Dianne and I brought our infants to the church nursery, Brittany to First Baptist, Frankfort and Kelsey to Hillcrest Baptist, Hopkinsville, it was a blessing to know that they would find a familiar face and that they would be safe and happy. These nurseries were happy places, with lots of fun toys just for them, music, books, rocking chairs, hugs, and love. At first they cried when we took them to the nursery, but it wasn’t long before they were crying, not when we dropped them off, but when they had to leave the nursery.
I am thankful that we have just such a place here at LABC. I was pleased when Evelyn Crooke told me she was dedicating this book to Linda Harmon.  For sixteen years she has worked in our nursery creating an environment where children are loved, happy, and secure, and are nurtured in the Christian faith. Linda is patient and kind with our children and, like Simeon and Anna, she is righteous and devout. Just as Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple, our parents bring their babies to church where they are blessed by Linda Harmon, our own Simeon and Anna.

Thank you Linda.