When we think of the Christmas story our mind tends to go to the stable where lowly shepherds greeted the newborn king, and when we think about the women of Christmas, Elizabeth and Mary are at the forefront. There is, however, another woman who is part of the story, yet she often gets lost (which is understandable since she has only three verses). Though they are small verses, the truths tucked inside them are big. The woman’s name was Anna: a prophetess, a daughter of the tribe of Asher, and a woman over 84 years of age. She only enjoyed seven years of marriage before suffering the loss of her husband, and she was left without children. When many would lose themselves in grief, she turned to God and devoted her life to His service. Anna is a woman who can teach us many things about what is truly important and about where our focus should lie.
A Woman of Perception
Her first lesson to us is that she was a woman of perception. She came upon the scene where Simeon was giving his prophecy of the young child and immediately recognized the significance. How did she know and agree that this was Jesus, the Son of God? What gave her the boldness to approach this little group with such certainty? I believe it is due to the fact that she had spent her life in the presence of God, and when He came in the flesh she knew. Anna was a woman who had given herself to understand the spiritual; all those decades lived in the temple prepared her for this one amazing moment. She was a woman who fasted and prayed both night and day. She was so in tune with God because it was her desire to be. How many of us can say that is our heart’s desire? So often we spend our life in the world, absorbing its philosophies and worldviews. We spend hours investing in things that are temporal and give only moments a day to spending time with God. How many of us would have missed Jesus had He come today? Would we have been sensitive to the Spirit’s leading? May we be like Anna and choose to spend time with our God that we may know Him.
A Woman of Devotion
Anna spent her life at the temple - it is what she lived for, and it was her reason for getting up in the morning. She would have agreed with the Psalmist when he said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). In fact she never left the Temple but, more than likely, lived in a little area within the walls. She eagerly greeted each day and looked forward to what it would bring as she served her God. How many of us live like that? How many of us have that kind of attitude? What is the first thing on our mind when we get up? Checking our phone? Social media? It is no wonder that many of us struggle to focus during our quiet time and still our hearts before God, because we have already cluttered it with the latest news or update. What would happen if we chose to rise and spend time in God's Word before doing anything else? I believe our minds would be ready to receive our Lord's message and more ready to act upon it if we did. We would quickly realize what truly mattered and be able to walk with greater clarity. May we be like Anna and wake up every day eager to seek the Lord's face first.
A Woman on a Mission
As soon as she had seen the young king and given thanks, she made it her mission to tell others. She wasted no time in passing along the wondrous news that the Messiah had come. She “spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). She, who had spent her whole life at the temple waiting with great anticipation for the coming of the promised One, had now seen Him with her own eyes, and she had to immediately tell others. She knew the truth and could not hold it inside. Yet how many times have we not spoken? The world is looking for a savior; they are in dire need of a redeemer, yet we hold back. We readily speak to others about the weather, sports, and sometimes even politics, but we hesitate to bring up the eternal. What would happen if we spoke to others about the good news as often as we speak of our family, hobbies, or pets? How much more of an impact would we make if we cared about someone’s eternal soul? May we be like Anna and spread the good news of Jesus Christ with all who would listen and make an eternal difference.
Are You Willing To Be an Anna?
To be an Anna is not an easy thing because it means we must deny ourselves; however, we are selfish by nature. We would prefer to spend our time doing what we like and investing in what we want, but that is not the reason we were given a life. We were given a life so that we might make a difference in our world and in our sphere of influence. When we stand before our God on the day of judgement, will we be ashamed at the many hours we spent on things that didn’t matter and weep over all that was lost? The world is in desperate need of more Annas, of individuals who desire to know their God in such a way that every step, every thought, and every action is guided by Him.
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.