This reading is often paired with the story of the boy Jesus being taken to the temple by his parents. The temple, the place of God’s presence among God’s people, is the connection.
As near as I can tell, it was Passover when Samuel’s parents visited him in the temple to offer their yearly sacrifice. Samuel’s mother brought him a new robe she had made for him. Hannah, Samuel’s mother, had given him to God, a promise she kept to God for taking away her barrenness. (1 Samuel 1-2:10) It was also Passover when Jesus’ parents brought him to the temple.
Ponder the contrasts in these two stories. God answered Hannah’s prayer for a son and Hannah, with praise and thanksgiving, gave him back to God to serve God. God heard the groaning prayers of the oppressed and, out of great grace and love, gave a Saviour to the world.
Having been saved from sin, death and the powers of evil, we are freed to live our lives in service to God. As Christmas arrives we can sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest!”
All glory be to you, great God. You have freed us forever to serve you. Thank you. Amen. — RH