The present moment terminates our sight; Clouds thick as those on doomsday, drown the next; We penetrate, we prophesy in vain. Time is dealt out by particles; and each, Ere mingled with the streaming sands of life, By fate’s inviolable oath is sworn Deep silence, “where eternity begins.” By nature’s law, what may be, may be now; There’s no prerogative in human hours. In human hearts what bolder thought can rise, Than man’s presumption on to-morrow’s dawn! Where is to-morrow? In another world. From Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Tomorrow is in another world. One man who saw the dawn of the new world was Simeon, who met the Holy Family in Jerusalem’s Temple.
He had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said:
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.Luke 2:29-32.
And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.
It was never going to be all sweetness and sleigh-bells, but there were those who were given a broader vision, including:
Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.Luke 2:36-39.
As latter-day gentiles, let us pray that our eyes and hearts may see and recognise Jesus in the child next door and the cold infant in Syria or Belarus, as well as in our own family members.