21 When the eighth day came, it was time to circumcise the child,[e] and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[f] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[g] came into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[h] took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word,
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
Even people who don’t often go to church may be familiar with the special offering that Mary and Joseph made to celebrate the birth of their firstborn son, Jesus. In the dozen or so references in the Bible to this requirement of the Jewish Law, a pair (or two) turtle doves is customary. And, being righteous people, the earthly parents of Jesus made the appropriate offering to God.
But where would biblically illiterate people find this story? Along with the four calling bird and three French hens, we gladly sing of the two turtledoves each Christmas. God’s Good News will be shared.
God of all good gifts, thank you for giving us so many ways to share what you have done for us in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.