Devotions for the week of: December 25, 2019
Luke 2:36-38 (NRSV)
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
It’s Christmas Day!
We, who rightfully advocate for the elevation of women in Scripture and in the church, cannot argue that today’s central character is a man: more specifically, a baby boy. And yet, at this moment in Luke’s story, the Christ child cannot yet speak for himself. He is just eight days old. The world still awaits his words: words of justice and peace, words of healing and truth.
Jesus is not yet speaking, but Anna is. Anna the prophet, she speaks about Emmanuel, God-with-us.
We meet Anna by first learning of her title – a prophet – not a prophetess, not an apprentice, not a student or a secondary preacher. We meet her as a prophet, who trusts and proclaims that Jesus Christ has come to redeem Jerusalem and save the world.
Anna is a faithful leader who knows she is in the presence of God’s own self. As such, she cannot cease praising God. Anna is an elder who sees the face of God in a baby. Her story embodies a bookend of the ages and stages of Christmas: God among us in the elderly and in the young.
As we commemorate this milestone 50-40-10 year, on this Christmas Day, may Anna remind us that God’s prophets come in many forms – they are old and young, women and men and trans, gay and straight; weak and strong, faithful and wavering.
A Merry Christmas to all, for all.
Pastor Christy Hallenbeck Ask
Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls
Gracious God, we give thanks for the ways your prophets proclaim how You have come among us, today and every day. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
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