Women of Christmas – Devotional #8

by Kathy

Women of Christmas Pic

 

If you are reading the book Women of Christmas, read chapter’s 7 & 8

Luke 2:21-40

In today’s devotional, we meet Anna, a prophetess.

What do the scriptures tell us about her?

  • her name means grace
  • her family name means “face of God”
  • she was “very old” – (but you would never know it watching her in action!!!)
  • she lived with her husband for seven years after their marriage
  • she became a widow as a young woman
  • after her husband’s death, she remained a widow and lived in the temple
  • her devotion to God was deep and wide

I love how she comes into the story of Christmas!  In just a few verses, she becomes this unexpected surprise at the end of the nativity story.

Before we meet Anna, we must meet Simeon, who was a righteous and devout man.  It had been revealed to him, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah.  Daily, he waited and listened for the Holy Spirit’s leading. I picture him waking up each morning with great expectation, seeking God’s face, and wondering if this would be the day he sees the long awaited One.  Then the moment came.  The Holy Spirit divinely moved him into the temple courts, where Mary and Joseph had come for her purification ceremony and Jesus’ dedication to the Lord.

Again, my heart wants more details of this moment.  We are only told that Simeon takes Jesus into his arms and gives thanks, acknowledging God’s Sovereignty.  As he holds the infant Jesus, Simeon was able to look at eternity.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, he saw it all.  The cross.  The grave.  The resurrection.

As Simeon is proclaiming this, a woman steps forward – its Anna!  She must have been standing nearby, when she saw Simeon holding a baby and praising God.  I wonder, did she gasp…did she clap for joy…did her heart skip a beat?  God, who had cared for her so faithfully, for so many years, saw to it that she didn’t miss this sacred moment!

I don’t think she hesitated more than a moment or two as she took the scene in.  Just as the Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that this infant was the Messiah, He was revealing the same thing to Anna.  There was no holding back as she made a beeline for the babe in Simeon’s arms.   The only words she could find to say were ones of praise!  She left this little family, unable to keep it to herself.  She spoke to everyone who would listen, especially to all who had longed for the Messiah’s appearing.

In just a few short verses, we see a woman who was incredibly disciplined and showed exceptional and endless devotion to God.

Let’s Pause for Heart Application

As you read about Anna worshipping day and night, do you see her as a “super saint”, made a little different than you?  It is so easy to allow that tempting thought to get into our heads…too see her actions as something that would be hard for us to do…to live with that kind of around the clock service of praying and fasting daily.  If this is where your heart and mind is right now, let me take a moment to encourage you.

Anna didn’t do these things on her own.  God did them through her.  We (including Anna) are all vessels that can do nothing apart from God.  Read this verse and let it truly soak in…”For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10

God’s hand rested on Anna hands.  He guided her.  He strengthened her.  He empowered her to do these things.

My dear friend, God’s hands rests on yours and mine as well.  When we slow down a bit…look…listen…we will sense His touch…His leading…His strength.

So let us stop for just a moment to quiet our hearts, go before God, and ask Him to show us how we can follow the example of Anna’s faithfulness.  Although most of us would not be able to mirror her very literal 24/7 devotion of living in the temple , which aspect of her worship challenges you to go further?

1.  In what ways might God be asking you to spend time in His presence in the year ahead?

2.  How could you develop a more intimate time of meditating on God’s Word and listening for His voice?

3.  Is there an area in your church where you could serve in a new way this coming year?

4..  Could you add more prayer time in your day?

5.  Would you be interested in exploring the discipline of fasting, sensing emptiness so that you can know a more intimate filling of the One who loves you so?

6.  Do you need to put aside complaining and being disgruntled and seek a heart of praise and gratefulness?

7.  Who, in your life, needs to hear the story that God, Immanuel, loves them so much that He came to redeem them and give them the gift of eternal life?

 

I would like to encourage you to write these questions down and think about them as you prepare to go into 2015.  In what ways might God be asking you to dwell more closely with Him in the year ahead?

 

Next Monday will be our final devotional in this study series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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