15th December - Isolated elderly

You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:32

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled. My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people; A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.

Luke 2:29-32

When Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple, the aged Simeon took the child in his arms and recognised him as God's Messiah. Anna was there too, and praised God. She spoke about the child to all who looked for the redemption of Jerusalem. Their wisdom and faithfulness opened their eyes to recognise the Christ-child. They knew who Jesus was, and spoke to people about him.

Our churches are full of elderly people, often isolated, often - like Anna - long widowed. The last in their generations, now that everyone else who remembers has gone. Then there are those we don't see at all - who don't venture out in winter for fear of cold winds, icy pavements, and hostile neighbours. Who close their curtains against the falling dark, and huddle indoors with no human contact. Do we give these people our time, and attention, and the warmth of our love and touch? Do we listen as they tell us their lifetime of learning to live and love, to watch and pray? In our bid to include others, do we sometimes exclude them as we make it too noisy, too busy, change too much? How would we have included Anna and Simeon in our churches?

Written by a priest in Durham diocese

Daily prayer

God of Simeon and Anna,
God who comes to us as a tiny baby,
teach us to welcome the wisdom of both old and young,
teach us to welcome them as we long to welcome you.


Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.