For the Jews, the birth of a child was the proof of God's blessing to a family. This is why a couple was considered blessed when a child was born. Furthermore, if the child happened to be the first born, it meant special happiness, as all the first born children were dedicated to the service of God. The parents of the child offered a sacrifice according to the laws (forty days after the birth), this being a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Joseph and Mary went to the temple to offer their thanks and sacrifice for their newly born infant, Jesus. Amongst the multitudes of worshippers, only Simeon noticed their presence.
Simeon lived in Jerusalem and lead a virtuous life, filled with faith and devotion. He always had the expectation to see the Messiah and his wish was to stay alive until this marvellous event would take place. Prophet Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, recognised the child in Mary's arms as the anointed one of God. As he extended his arms and embraced the child, he was filled with Holy excitement, his face illuminated, his heart was full of gratitude. God had given him the honour to hold the Saviour of the world in his arms.
Simeon's Prophecy "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, According to your word; For my eyes have seen your salvation Which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of your people Israel." Luke 2:29-32
Joseph and Our Lady listened to the old prophet and marvelled as he blessed them and prophesied about Our Lord Jesus Christ. Those that would believe in Christ, would be resurrected and saved, and those who renounced Christ, would not obtain the Kingdom of Heaven. He also told Our Lady that she would also feel her Son's pain.
"Yea a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Many years later, the Theotokos would remember these words when she would stand under the Cross at Her Son's crucifixion.
Today, we as parents, emulate Our Lady and Joseph by bringing our children to the Church on the fortieth day from their birth.
Thus welcoming the mother back into the congregation and with this blessing the child's life in the church begins.