We all know women that inspire us to be a better version of ourselves. Even as grownups, these women make us say, “I want to be like her when I grow up.” In our Christmas story, this is Anna.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She 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.[f] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping 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
Anna was a widow, she was old in age, and she did not have children. In a culture that does not value women, these facts only served to make her life even harder.
But, we also read that Anna was a prophetess, dedicated to God in worship, prayer, and fasting. Anna was also bold. It took boldness to choose her life at the temple instead of returning home to her family. She was okay with being uncomfortable, in order to be used by God.
What do we learn from Anna?
We learn that in every season of life. We have worth as a servant of the Lord. We learn that age is an asset because of the wisdom and experience that comes with it. We learn that Anna didn’t let circumstances dictate her life. She engaged God and the people He brought into her life. She was willing to be used by God.
I love that, in scripture, we see that God had both Simeon and Anna waiting, watching, looking for the Messiah. Why? I think it might have been His way of showing that Jesus came for both men and women – He truly came for everyone. It was His way of showing a culture that didn’t value women – that He sees them, loves them, and cares about them too.
This time of year, most women put in “overtime” to make the holidays just right for their loved ones. Ladies, let’s lay down our expectations of what we think this Holiday season should look like, but instead, let us be like Anna; waiting, watching, and looking for the Messiah. See Him in your child’s laughter. See him in the twinkle of Christmas lights. Feel Him in the early morning quiet of your home. Then, like Anna, let’s open our mouths and praise Him for who He is. Thank Him for His coming. Thank Him for His faithfulness and hope this Christmas season. Thank Him for the hope that comes with a new year!