THIS WEEK: ReDiscover HOPE!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13
There was someone else there that day when Mary and Joseph brought their infant son to the temple. Another who had been faithfully watching and waiting and believing it was only a matter of time before she saw the fulfillment of God’s longstanding promise. Anna was a prophet, eighty-four years old. She had been married once, long ago, for seven years before her husband died. This would have given her a difficult life in ancient culture, making her dependent on others for a well-being that was probably then meager. None of that seemed to slow Anna down. She spent all her time in the temple, worshiping, fasting, and praying. Her service might have even been part of some official group or capacity.
Like Simeon, Anna was ready when Jesus arrived. Maybe she approached the young family at the same time as Simeon. Maybe later. Whatever the timing, her worshipful response was similar. But Luke tells us even more. Like Simeon, Anna was overjoyed to see this long-expected gift from God. She certainly must have felt fulfilled as well.
But Anna wasn’t done. Her hope overflowed, and she told everyone she could about what she had seen.
Anna’s hope is the kind described by Paul, when he prayed, “… that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Isn’t that just like hope? It’s the kind of hope we see in children on Christmas morning: expectant, unbridled, uncontainable, overflowing. And it’s the same kind from the God of hope that sustains through the ages.
Apply: How is your hope-ometer these days? What hope have you given up on that God is calling to renew in you?
(Reprinted with permission from Outreach.com “Advent Reading Plan”)