6th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

 

She was advanced in years. 

If you want to see an example of the vital role that senior women can play in the family of God, just look at Anna!   Her story is so short, yet very compelling.   A prayerful widow, she spent all her days in the Temple.   So let’s imagine what her days could have been like.

Perhaps Anna had children and grandchildren, but by this time, they had grown up and moved out of her home.   Maybe that’s why she was free to spend all her time in the Temple.   And with all that time of prayer, she likely had an effect on the people she met there.

Imagine Anna’s faithfulness and devotion, which encouraged the young men still learning their priestly duties.   Her hope and anticipation of the Messiah invigorated the older priests who were beginning to grow weary of offering daily sacrifices.

Surely her prayerful attitude drew others into worship as well.   If someone looked troubled, she might have offered to pray with them.   Or maybe she offered her fasting for their intentions.   Just seeing Anna’s aged hands lifted in prayer helped people who were distracted to refocus their own prayers.

Anna probably worked also to bring reconciliation.   When people brought conflict or anger into the Temple, she may have discreetly prayed for God to help them forgive one another.   Her serene face would have soothed their spirits when they were having a rough day.

So when she came to the Temple on this special day, Anna’s years of prayerful waiting had sharpened her awareness so that she recognized Jesus as her long-awaited Messiah.   With the boldness that comes from prayer, she wasn’t shy about pointing him out to people.   And because they knew her so well, they listened.

You can probably identify some seasoned parishioners like Anna in your church.   Their stories remind you of God’s goodness and faithfulness.   They listen attentively to your concerns.   They intercede and help lift the burdens of the people around them.

So keep your eyes open for the “Annas” out there.   Take the time to thank them for all the ways they act as a positive influence on their surroundings—and on you.

“Father, thank you for all the ways you have blessed me through mature believers.”

1 John 2:12-17
Psalm 96:7-10

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