Today is the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and Saviour in the Temple.
According to Jewish law, the firstborn male of every family must be “redeemed” (bought back) from the Temple, to which he legally belonged. It was as they fulfilled this requirement that Joseph and Mary were met by Simeon, a elderly priest and prophet.
Simeon’s poem, “LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”, is sung at Vespers.
AND, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
WHEN Symeon was about to depart from this present age of deception, you were given to him as a babe, but you were known to him also as perfect God. And so, struck with amazement at your ineffable wisdom, he cried:
From the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. Translation from Anastasis.