Anna opened her eyes when the morning sun kissed her eyelids. “Good morning, Lord. What do you have in store for me today? How will I see You this time? Will You come in the flesh at last?”
Her usual greeting was followed by the typical start-of-the-day ritual and meal. She noticed a surprising spring in her step as she approached the temple.
The crowds were building as she picked up the trash that gathered on the floor. “I’ll keep Your house tidy, Lord. I don’t mind. It’s the least I can do. You’ve been my husband ever since my man died so many years ago. I like our intimacy much better. I know You’ll never leave me.”
She straightened her back and watched the people for a while. Priests, Scribes and Pharisees were parading around in their flowing robes. Young families were bringing their sons to be circumcised or consecrated; some brought sheep others carried caged birds.
As one couple came in carrying a cage she heard a voice. “I’m here.”
She watched them move through the outer court. They had the same look of bewilderment all people do on their first business trip to God’s sanctuary.
Then, Simeon approached them and took the child out of the mother’s arm. Her feet barely touched the ground as she raced to the scene.
She stopped next to Simeon. “Is it…?”
Simeon’s smile looked like it would crack his wrinkled face in two. “Yes, Anna, He’s finally here, just as God promised. Do you want to hold Him?”
Anna took a half step back. “No, I cou…”
Simeon thrust the infant into her arms. She held her breath as she looked at her savior. “He’s so…perfect.”
A tear fell on Jesus’ cheek. He fussed.
“I’m sorry, Lord. I didn’t mean to upset You.”
She wiped the tear with her sleeve as everyone laughed.
She handed Jesus back to Mary. “Thank you. This means more to me than you’ll ever know. I’ve been dreaming of this moment since the first day I walked into the temple after my husband died many decades ago. Thank you.”
Anna looked around at others. Then, she grabbed the sleeve of a young woman carrying her own son. Anna pulled her over to Mary. “It’s the Messiah. He’s here.”
The woman looked at Anna, then, at Jesus and Mary. “What’s his name?”
Mary smiled. “His name is Jesus.”
“That’s what we named our son, too. We heard that’s to be the Messiah’s name. We’re hoping our son is him, too.” She glanced at her husband.
The sheep he led was pulling at the rope. He motioned for her to follow him. “Come along now. Let’s get this over with! I can’t keep the store closed all day. Tomorrow’s the Sabbath; two days down could ruin us.”
Mary looked at Joseph as the woman left.
A tear rolled down his cheek. “He doesn’t understand any of this.”
Anna worked her way into the crowd and stopped everybody she could. “It’s the Messiah. He’s here at last! Go, look for yourself.”
A few people came over to look at the infant. Some smiled in Mary’s direction. Most kept moving past the old woman trying not to make eye contact.
There God goes, again, using an unusual person to spread the news of His coming to earth.
Luke gives us a brief back story into Anna’s life. She’s from the tribe of Asher. Her dad’s name is Phanuel. She was married seven years when she was young, but lived in the temple since the time her husband died. Fasting and prayer occupied her 84-year-old energy and thoughts.
Prophetess is a term seldom used to describe a woman in the Bible. Anna is one of those select individuals. A life filled with prayer and fasting would lend itself to such a title. The Holy Spirit would seek out such a heart to awaken certain longings from God.
Like Simeon, she longed to spend her time in the temple, the dwelling place of God. Neither of them had to be there since they weren’t from the tribe of Levi. I’m confident she shared many conversations with Simeon about the possibility of the Messiah coming at any time in their life. Her first daily thoughts likely clung to that promise.
Does your life share any of these passions with Anna? Do you long to be close to God? Do you carry on personal dialogue with your Creator? Are you expecting Him to show up in your life? Have you endured at least a short-term fast?
There are many ways God displays Himself to us. Nature is one of His favorite ones. I shared on my humor blog how God displayed Himself to me one Thanksgiving Day in the fall foliage, a rainbow and a sunset in unison. I recognized it as a God hug. Do you look for God that way?
Another favorite way is through the scriptures. Regular reading and meditating on Bible passages put God on display in very intimate ways. But, you have to give Him your undivided attention to see Him there. Please make that a normal part of your life. You won’t be sorry.
Like any relationship prayer will put you in touch with God on an intimate level. Carry on a running conversation throughout your day. Let Him know your innermost feelings and longings. He already knows them, but, He wants to hear them from you, too. Talk to Him, He’s listening.
Do you look for His return in your lifetime? It could happen, you know. For those of us who’ve given Jesus rule in our lives it’s a promise we cling to. The rapture of His people is the next big event on the prophetic calendar according to the Bible.
Whether I see Jesus after the rapture or He calls me home through the portal of death I’m looking forward to a personal hug from my savior.
Give your life to Him and He’ll give you a hug, too.
I’ll see you later. Wade