By Hollie Wells
As the spirit of Christmas settles into my mind, I have been thinking and hearing so much of the passages of Christ’s birth in Luke 2. We only have a handful of recorded events from the life of Jesus before the commencement of his ministry at the age of 30. Two of them are in Luke 2 and both of these major events happen at the temple (as well as many of the preachings and miracles of Christ during His ministry). Let’s explore these two stories!
Presentation at the Temple
At certain life events, Jews would make their way to the temple. Women were considered unclean after giving birth, so they went to the temple to make an offering for cleansing. Mary and Joseph, being good Law-of-Moses-abiding citizens, made their way to the temple in Jerusalem “to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord.” (Luke 2:24). There, they met Simeon and Anna.
Simeon was told by the Holy Ghost that he would not die until he had seen the Savior. He probably waited and waited for that day, but one day God fulfilled His promise. Simeon gained a witness of the Savior through the Holy Ghost in that moment.
Anna was a widow of 84 years who spent all of her time in the temple. She also got to meet the infant Jesus at the temple and gave thanks to God for it.
I love this Christmas story. It is unfortunate that we stop reading Luke 2 just before this takes place. It shows us that God will make and keep His promises. It shows us that the Lord can be found at His temple. We may not meet Him physically there, but we can gain a testimony of Him through the Holy Ghost, the same way that Simeon and Anna did.
Teaching in the Temple
Just a little further on in Luke 2 comes the story of Jesus teaching in the temple at age 12. This journey to the temple was part of the Mosaic tradition to pilgrimage to the temple at times of feasts and celebrations, this particular time being the feast of Passover. Mary and Joseph had turned around to leave with their company of travelers when they realized little Jesus was not with them. They frantically searched; and where did they find Him? Sitting in the temple, teaching and asking questions.
If you are looking for the Lord, the temple is a really good place to look for Him. When you go, He is constantly teaching through the ordinances, symbolism, and the Holy Ghost. Consider making time for a trip to the temple as part of your Christmas celebrations, to thank God for sending His Son to this world, to find Him, to worship Him, and to listen and learn from Him.