Hidden in God’s Timeline

God’s timeline stretches, a banner of Sovereignty before time and ahead of time farther than any eye can see. Anna, advanced in years, a dot on the expanse of eternity, lived within the massive stone walls of the temple. Day and night she served. She prayed, and she waited for Old Testament promise to be fulfilled, a Redeemer, the Messiah.  Days turned to years. Still she waited.

“And it came to pass in those days…”

From Genesis, God’s time wound through history. The heart beat of creation fit precisely together destined for the culmination of that day. Its rhythmic pattern pinpointed like a shining star above a manger in Bethlehem.

“So it was, while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.”

The drum of time crescendoed.

“…there were… shepherds living out in the fields…”

Each part joined, designed and carried by the hand of Alpha Omega, the Beginning and the End.

“…’There is born to you this day’….”

Minutes, hours, centuries dovetailed, climaxing to a cosmic introduction of Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

“…and they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe…”

God’s cadence of events rolled forward. Mary and Joseph took the Child to the temple for dedication, where they met Simeon, a just and devout man.

Simeon had waited a lifetime for the Messiah, and now led by the Spirit into the temple he saw the Christ Child.

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,”  he declared.

The steps of Mary, Joseph and Simeon crossed at precisely the right time, and the old man opened his arms to hold God’s Son.

“And coming in that instant” Anna arrived on the scene. And this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the the temple.”

Anna was a prophetess, one who spoke God’s word. The swish of robes against stone floors, marble columns, whispered prayers and temple music filled her existence.

Anna knew sorrow. She’d lost her husband years before, when youth blushed her cheeks and tomorrows radiated as far as she could see. Alone the years ticked past, and the end grew closer than the beginning. The magnificent temple had become home to her. An arrangement perhaps unusual, certainly obscure, and unpretentious.

Now there was one, Anna…(who) served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” 

While I work like a banshee to accomplish all I must before December 25 and the snowball of things to do accumulates into something far bigger than myself, I am arrested by Anna’s service to God.

Who knew Anna? What did they perceive in her? Who promoted her? What value did she contribute to society? Did she have any sway to the rights of humans or their formation of thought and practice? What purpose did life have for Anna between 6-4 BC?

Were her cookies baked? Cards sent? Tree decorated? Gifts bought and wrapped?

Anna, an inconsequential old woman, whose name means “grace,” daughter of an unknown Phanuel whose name means “the face of God” was designated to gaze into the face of the Redeemer, tiny, lowly and helpless.

Anna’s significance didn’t come from houses or jobs, performance or achievement. She served God within the worship of her heart.

And it was significant to God. Consequential enough to be named in Scripture.

“…She gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” 

And her reward overflowed to others.

That’s Christmas.

May yours overflow in thanksgiving and worship to the King. May it bless souls waiting, searching a lifetime for a Savior.

(Scripture quotations from Luke 2, NKJV)