Old Simeon! What drew you there that day? What whisper wakened longing in your soul? What impulse roused you, gave new life to your unsteady limbs? And what imagined goal, what sweet desired dream could seem within the grasp of gnarled hands and ancient arms like yours? What vision or what unheard voice impelled your coming? Haste like this alarms and certainty in seers like you is hard to beat: This energy, this seizing Him, this speaking of His destiny, this fit of flowing tears in eyes both bright and dim - it all electrified. The crowd was stirred. And Mary listened, and her whole heart heard!
Must you awaken Mary now, at night, when she is deep in dreams and her small Son asleep beside her? Must you disturb so sweet a slumber? Breathing two as one, her slender arm, still soft with sleep, is wrapped about the babe, and his dark hair is damp against her skin. Must innocence like this be ended? Must you shine the warning lamp across her gentle face? If Herod's set upon the infant's death, then she must know, take flight for Egypt, exile, yet tonight. May she find strength to act and pack and go to calm her baby, keep her own heart still, and hear the wasteland whisper of God's will.
Can this extraordinary etiquette be God's? To grieve you, leave you, stay behind without a word to ease your mind, to let you know where He would be? Can this be kind? Or does some strange uncommon courtesy direct this deed that leads you to the throne of God? Jesus teaching in the Temple! Such firmness, self-assurance in His tone as if He'd known, anticipated all anxiety, and planned your pain to spare you worse! What could you do, endure, or dare, what burden bear, if He did not prepare you through this separation, triple loss, these three sad days foreshadowing the cross?
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