Saturday, December 30, 2006
Anna was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to Joseph and Mary she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
In the last few weeks' Bible readings we have encountered a number of righteous, gentle women who could have been the mother of Jesus. Anna is another. I guess she might have been jealous of Mary's good fortune, but instead she thanked God and lifted up this other woman to God for his continued blessing.
She didn't hesitate. She came right up to Joseph and Mary and their baby. She cried out in joy so that everyone could hear. There were many travelers in Jerusalem. Perhaps some of them, not understanding her language, thought Anna was wailing in grief or anger.
But Anna had been sanctified over the many years she attended the temple. Her husband gave her pleasure and security for just a few years, and in her grief she turned to God. She must have known so much joy before this climactic moment with Jesus. God is the best husband of all.
God chooses some of his people for great tasks, and they achieve certain fame or notoriety. But these choosings imply nothing negative about the rest of us. God loved Anna very much, but she was not chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Anna's place in God's family is solid and certain. So is mine. And yours. We are loved in the biggest way we can imagine.
Lord, this year is coming to an end. I am aware of so many loose ends, so many incomplete projects and unfulfilled goals. Why are there so many? What's wrong with me? Thank you, Lord, for not answering that question, but just loving me and loving me and loving me.