She was no spring chicken – to say the least. She had been sporting those beautiful wrinkles for more than a few years. She had weathered the storms of life. Did she walk slowly with a cane? Were her hips worn out? Did she look in the mirror and try to remember what she looked like as a young lady when she first fell in love with the man of her dreams? But now her skin doesn’t have the same youthful luster and tone. Was she a frail, petite older lady or was she robust and rotund? There’s so much we don’t know. We do know that she climbed into her 80’s and she was still worshipping the Lord. If that’s not noteworthy, what is?
A successful businessperson may retire with the golden handshake and receive plaques of honour for faithful years of service. The open mic at the farewell supper may be swarmed by well-wishers. Her walls may display years of framed awards and certificates of accomplishments. But really, as she climbed the corporate ladder and immersed herself in business, how did her devotion to Christ fare during those years? Did it affect her service to the Lord? Did He get the short end of the stick when it came to her time and abilities? If so, then, what a waste her years really were in light of eternity!
Anna was now in her 80’s. As a very young wife, she received the crushing news – “Your husband did not survive. We are so very sorry. He’s gone.” Did the young wife collapse as she received the worst news she could ever hear? Her dreams of a long happy marriage to the man she loved ended in a moment. The young widow said her last farewell to the man who swept her off her feet in romance. Long after the community had ended their mourning and long after their lives had returned to normal – Anna’s tears still flowed and her heart would continue to ache with loneliness.
Many centuries later, we are reading in the Gospel of Luke. We read about the birth of John the Baptist, the birth of Christ and then we get into chapter two and read this:
And … Anna…. was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38
What does it mean that she never departed from the temple – she never left the temple? It meant she never deserted or abandoned her spiritual occupation of worshipping God and praying in the temple. She didn’t live there, but she did live there. That’s all she lived for. That’s where her heart was. That was her focus and when she could be there in person, she was there.
To think that despite the trials and sorrows and disappointments of life, Anna was still worshipping at 84 and still focused on the Messiah is beautiful to say the least. It was her privilege and high honour to help spread the news of the arrival of Christ.
“Father, please preserve me through the various stages of my life. Give me the strength to remain focused on Christ regardless of what happens and help me to always be a worshipper. I want my life to revolve around Christ.”
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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