“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
Our God brought such affirmation along Mary and Joseph’s path. Whether for their encouragement, for strength, for the faith to keep believing what He told them at the first – whatever they needed in that moment, He faithfully provided it.
Mary received it with Elizabeth, whose baby leaped in the womb at her approach.
On the night Jesus was born outside in a stable, affirmation came through the shepherds who came running to see this baby, this “Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
When Jesus was presented in the temple, it was pressed further with Simeon, who raised the baby up and spoke the above words in Luke 2 that caused Jesus’ parents to marvel, and with Anna who began to praise and speak of Him to all who would listen.
Later, affirmation was given through the wise men who traveled a great distance following a star to exactly where the child was, and who presented Him with gifts and bowed down in worship.
All of this is a reminder, perhaps, that Mary and Joseph were not all that different from us. Surrendered and devoted to God, readily following His leading. But their hearts still marveled at these reminders of what God was doing in their lives. Perhaps wondering at the incomprehensible reality that He would choose them. A couple who was among the poor, unable to afford a lamb for the sacrifice in the temple. Individuals who likely got caught up in the mundane details of life and at times forgot the wonder. Who might have questioned whether anyone would believe them, or if this was actually even real.
Because even with God’s affirmations, do we not feel stirrings of doubt that maybe we just read it wrong? Discouragement enters in, or a question of who we are to be called in such a way, or just wondering if we know how to hear God correctly.
So perhaps these affirmations in Jesus’s earliest days were not just for outsiders, those looking in who needed more than Mary and Joseph’s words. Perhaps they were for them. Because they did marvel. And that tends to be our heart’s response as well, doesn’t it? When God brings along something that affirms, “Yes, you’re on the right path,” leaving no room for question. Our heart marvels and rejoices and strengthens, because we aren’t crazy or wrong or ridiculous in our belief. God is with us and He is leading. He will speak and strengthen and get us there.
I hope this is encouragement to you today. Because He does not love you any less than He loved Mary and Joseph. He is not less invested in your life. You are just as loved, and He will lead you just as clearly. It may not look the same, but it will be exactly what you need in each moment. Just keep looking to Him and He will guide you faithfully, with affirmations and favor covering your path.