Do you hear what I hear
Friday, December 30, 2011
The widow Anna was eighty-four years old. She never left the temple in Jerusalem, but worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer. She came forward when Jesus was brought in and gave thanks to God. She spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
Jesus and Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth in Galilee. The child grew and became strong and filled with wisdom. The favor of God was upon him.
Anna never left the temple. Imagine what she has seen. Not everyone who came to the holy temple in Jerusalem was as focused on holiness as was Anna. Many of the temple visitors were men. Jewish men could be pretty strong-willed, and sometimes strong-armed as well.
For decades, Anna watched. She saw many deeply reverent moments between men and God, between women and God. Her mind was filled with what she saw and what she herself experienced with God.
Like another famous anchoress, Julian of Norwich, Anna gave up the rest of her life to be only with God. God filled Julian with joy, expressed in her confident words, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
And God filled Anna’s arms with Himself, enfleshed in Jesus. Not only Anna’s spirit, but also her arms caught up this baby with skin on, and called him blessed.
I think sweet Grandma Anna must have held many babies in her eighty-four years. Cooed over them, smiled at their mothers and fathers, handed them back to be raised and trained and sent out as young Jewish adults. This time, as she held baby Jesus, she heard God singing a new song in her arms.
How does she know what she knows? She’s a grandmother, that’s how. Her discernment comes from God; He opens her senses to just the right things. She might not hear every word that’s said, but she hears what God wants her to hear.
We are happy to live in your house, Lord, to be part of your family and to praise you every day. Thank you for being our strength. Hear our prayer, Lord, and look upon us with your grace and love.