Today is the preview of the good will of God, Of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the temple of God, In anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice, O Divine Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation. (Troparion of the Feast)
On the 21st of November the Church celebrates the great feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. Tradition tells us that Mary was presented in the Temple, by her parents Joachim and Anna, around the age of 3 or 4 and she remained there, living and serving, until her betrothal to Joseph around the age of 13 or 14. She was received in the temple by the Priest Zacharias who would become the father of John the Baptist.
She was led into the holies of holies so she could, herself, become the holy of holies. She would become the living sanctuary and temple of Jesus. This is also symbolic of the ending of the physical temple and the introduction of the theology that we, all of humanity, are living temples. No longer does God dwell only in the temple by He dwells in the human temple of all of humanity.
The most praiseworthy Ann cries out in great joy to Zechariah, the high priest: “Come, receive joyfully the one whom the Prophets of God announced by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Introduce her into the Temple that she may be brought up in purity, to become the throne of God, a palace, a place of delight to the Lord of us all!” (hymn of vespers)
This shift in theology from the physical temple to the temple of humanity is important as the emphasis shifts away from sacrifice of animals to the sacrifice that Christ made for all of us on the Cross. We no longer have to bring anything but ourselves, a willing sacrifice to God, just as He was. Each day we must offer ourselves anew in the service of the kingdom and continue the journey that we take with Christ.
Let us be as Mary, who willing accented to what the Angel was asking of her. Let us be like her and answer God’s call, “let it be according to your will.” Not our will but God’s will in our lives.