The purpose of this reflection is to help youth understand the importance of recognizing God. They will consider what signs indicate that God is near.
Have some magic eye pictures available for the teens to look at during the beginning of the meeting. Start by challenging them to see what is in the picture. Allow at least 5 to 10 minutes for this activity.
- Did you have fun looking for the hidden images?
- Who found it easy?
- Who found it hard?
- Did it help if somebody else told you what you were looking for?
- Did it require patience?
Sometimes we can be looking right at something and not really see it. But when something comes into focus, we wonder why we didn’t see it all along!
Read Luke 2:22-40:
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.Luke 2:22-40 or Luke 2:22, 39-40
Simeon had been waiting a long time to see the Messiah. He was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go to the temple, and when he arrived, he saw the infant Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah.
Anna had also been waiting for something. Every day she was in the temple to praying, in hopes of encountering God. And when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into the temple, she knew that she had seen the Redeemer.
These two holy people had an amazing ability. They were able to see the Messiah where others only saw a baby. And in their advanced years, that was what they really longed for.
Simeon had been promised that he would not die until he saw the Redeemer. Consider what he says: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” This encounter with God brought him such hope and peace that he was then ready to die!
Now we might not encounter Jesus the way Simeon and Anna did. But we certainly know that God is always with us. But sometimes we have to really look to see Him. We have to be patient to recognize how he is bringing about our salvation.
- Where have you encountered God this week?
- Where do you go when you want to encounter God?
- Have you found God in any places you did not expect?
- How do you feel when you suddenly realize that God is near?
This week, pray Simeon’s prayer every night before you go to bed:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.”
Think of at least one place where you encountered God that day. Then go to sleep in peace, knowing that you have seen salvation.
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