Prepare to Listen. Light the pink and two purple candles. Be still and pray: Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD (Is 51:1).
Prayerfully Read Luke 2:36-38
36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Luke describes Anna in detail. She was a prophet (by mentioning this first, Luke underscores its importance for this woman). Her name was Anna and she was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. We don’t know who that is, but Anna knew where she came from and to whom she was related. As a prophet, her task was to discern God’s work in the world and speak God’s Word to the people. She lived to a great age, 84, in the presence of God, cloistered in the temple, never leaving it. Day and night, she worshiped and patiently waited for the redemption of her people, Israel.
Her patient waiting paid off the day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in obedience to Jewish law. Anna was there, in that sacred space which no one dared deny her. With a prophet’s eye and inner knowledge this exceptional saint recognized in an 8-day old infant her Messiah (see v21). It was enough. She knew such joy she “began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem,” which makes her the first witness to Jesus.
Waiting is a primary practice of God’s people. It’s never easy, always trying. But, the promises of God, promises about consolation for our pains, redemption for our brokenness, vengeance for our enemies, come only to those who wait. Covid-19 has forced us all to practice this most Christian of practices—waiting. Yes, we’ve complained and lamented, gotten impatient and groaned as we waited and looked for our redemption. We wait for and hope to hasten the day of God (2 Pet 3:12). And as we wait, we learn again and again that God measures time on God’s timescale, not ours.
What caught your attention in this brief story?
Respond to Jesus
Gracious God, give us the devotion and patience of Anna to faithfully wait for your promise of redemption and the restoration of your creation. In the Name of Jesus, for whom we watch and wait this Advent. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, practicing the discipline of patient waiting.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.