Luke 2 focuses on the preparation for the coming of the Messiah.
One such woman was Anna. 8 decades she was in the Temple. It all started with a tragedy. For whatever reason the Bible does not specify she lost the love of her life 8 years into the marriage. Instead of focusing on her loss something took her into the Temple to seek out “The Consolation of Israel “. As a widow she would have been without means to eat or live, yet the Word tells us she was night and day in the Temple. It was those prayers says Luke that set off a reaction in Jerusalem, quietly, sprang up house groups all over the city having a conviction that something big was about to happen.
When one is so dedicated in the way Anna was, it is obvious that discerning the things God is doing, even His secrets then they become known. We talk about these 2 births; John and Jesus, being the secret things of God, but they are clearly prophesied in Scripture. However there always seems to be a disconnect in our discerning the Scripture at work in our generation yet it is plainly mapped out in the Scripture. This is a theme Luke takes up in chapter 24, the disciples thrown by the death of the Messiah,yet Scripture was quite graphic concerning every detail .
This Christmas preparation could be marred like a loss, Anna lost her husband. Yet she did not allow widowhood define her but allowed it to refine her focus. She would press into what Isaiah 54 terms as God being the husband. This pursuit for God Himself turned into being in the forefront of praying into motion the big changes that were needed then.
Big changes do not come from visible events, but are unleashed by unseen forces that only prayer can discern out and can prepare. Anna not only heard of the birth of Messiah but met Him in the Temple as a Babe. This meeting could not have been discerned and taken place if it were not for the sacrifices of 8 decades.
These sacrifices can only be understood when we understand what “loss” is in the economy of God. Many men and women of great prayer I have known have lived very difficult lives and sometimes their prayers come moulded by the pains of their own denial. Self denial and a personal cross carried are two vital disciplines.
This Christmas may be a bad time for you. You may not even be in good relationships with family, or have a health issue, or have lost ones one loved. We need to turn these to God and find hidden in these issues is a Vocation that sustains us. Anna saw the Temple of Zerrubabel torn down and a new majestic one. She was worshipping and praying in the midst of falling stones and building up. This represents our years. Many things we tear down. However we like Anna be steadfast in praying through all the instability we will see the fulfilment of our prayers, because the depth of our sacrifice will cause us to see the eternal impact of what God releases.
Christmas is about preparing to meet with Christ, away from the noise, the traditions, where only the Holy Spirit is our guide. Are you ready to discover the Messiah in the hidden place?