In reading about the birth of Jesus, we realize the Roman generals didn’t know anything about it. The Roman Caesar didn’t know anything about it. The Jewish high priest didn’t know anything about it. The Greek philosophers didn’t know anything about it. In fact, as we look more closely at the Christmas narrative, it seems as if it were only average people—not the notables or the religious leaders—who seemed to grasp the message of Christmas.
Anna may have been one of the “average” people in the Christmas story, but she was a spiritual giant. Why? Her attitude of the hope set her apart. Anna was widowed, and the Bible indicates she had remained single since her husband’s death. For many years, she remained alone and knew well the pain of grief, of loss, of being alone. Neither her loss nor her being alone diminished her bright hope.
(Luke 2:37 NKJV) “…this woman [Anna] was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple but served God with fasting and prayers night and day.”
Anna realized that she had two options: to be bitter about what had happened or to be better through what had happened. I believe that as Anna began to wait on the Lord, focus on God’s trustworthiness, and concentrate on being all that He intended her to be she started to look at life through the Father’s eyes. This strengthened her resolve as she refused to let her hopes be dashed.
The great hope at Christmas is the same as it was for that “little” lady in Jerusalem many centuries ago. Our hope, like Anna’s, is redemption through Jesus Christ. A personal relationship with Him brings hope in the midst of a hopeless world. It allows the redeemed to stand on the edge of eternity, knowing that life is a vapor and salvation through the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is eternal. May we be like Anna in proclaiming the good news to all who would hear. Redemption has come! The hope of the world brings joy to the world!