Faithful Saints

by Laura Loffredo

Anna lived at the Temple according to Scripture. She was eighty-four years of age and had been a widow for many years.  Having been married only 7 years it is very likely she had no children to support her.  She was a godly woman whose life was a total dedication to God with faithful fasting and prayer.  My own experience with godly women who fast and pray daily is that they also spend their time in devotion to God by serving others with great pleasure and at personal sacrifice.  The work of prayer is definitely not the activity of a lazy person.  The Temple at Jerusalem welcomed travelers from other lands by feeding and housing them for a short time.   She welcomed strangers, befriended the lonely, and prayed for them.  In my mind, Anna attended to all the Hannahs who entered therein seeking the direction of God Himself.

She was a sister in the Lord to Simeon who was also old and weakened in his later years, whose heart had been cheered by God when he learned that he would not die till he had seen the Lord’s Christ!  What a tremendous piece of information Simeon had been given! Undoubtedly he shared this extraordinary news with Anna. “Help me keep an eagle eye out for new parents with their little baby boys.”

Can’t you just see these two old people shuffling over to see every new baby that’s brought in? They must have tugged at little hands and cooed over every little brown haired bundle of joy.  Surely they must have been wondering each time whether this is the one.  It was like a game they played, silently, prayerfully, looking on thoughtfully.

It could have been two years of waiting to finally find the one they were looking for.

They were not so sure how they might recognize the real One. “Don’t babies look pretty much alike with tiny little ears and noses; some with curly hair, others with none at all?  They all have small dimpled hands and knees, mostly brown eyes with strange and sweet formations of their lips and mouths.  How does one know which child is the one Isaiah spoke of?  ‘Unto us a child is born.’ Messiah will be splendorous in every way, but what can we learn from a tiny baby?”

 Entering, young parents brought their first-born to be dedicated. The two elderly ones observed their demeanor. “Pigeons are a humble offering,” they whispered, “but their faces are kind with their babe wrapped in meager cloth.”  Simeon nudged Anna, “I’m going to stand closer.  I have a heavy sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence.”  Anna could not help but follow, seeing Simeon holding out his arms to hold the baby.  As he looked into the child’s face he began predicting extraordinary events in this child’s life.  Anna, too, sensed the Spirit of God so she also prophesied. Perhaps hers was about his future ministry of preaching to the poor and brokenhearted; gaining freedom for the captives; and this child would comfort those who mourn.  He would grow up to love justice and would make an everlasting covenant with his people!”  Words Isaiah had written hundreds of years before and perhaps applied by Anna to this precious baby in arms, born in a lowly stable to a virgin mother and step-father; facts they knew nothing of, but had been the Father’s choice.

When Simeon spoke of “a sword piercing their hearts,” the couple’s faces fell. Worried looks appeared, interrupting the happy moments of dedication.  Anna felt sorry about the news, but she had confidence in Simeon. He spoke only that which the Lord directed. She kept patting Joseph’s shoulder and Mary’s back as if to say, it’s alright, don’t worry, God is with you. He will care for you when the time comes, please trust Him.  When the ceremony was ended, Anna and Simeon were all smiles.  They could not keep silent!  To everyone around them they exclaimed, “We have seen the Lord’s Christ!  We have seen Him indeed!  And everyone marveled, but thirty years later none remembered. Of all the great days in the Temple, that one day was the best of all, seeing God wrapped up into a small package and being carried to His own house for the very first time and hearing two of His own servants predict his glorious reasons for being incarnated into human flesh.  The two paid high honor to God by living for Him every single day and speaking His worthiness as the Scriptures testify.  Anna and Simeon were faithful saints.

Christmas Eve: Our Light Has Come

Every Sunday this month we lit a new Advent candle in our morning service. Each candle represented a different facet of the Good News of Christmas: HOPE, FAITH, JOY and LOVE. Through Scripture reading on Sundays and reflections on this blog, we spent time renewing our confidence in the fulfillment of God’s promises because we believe he always does what he says. We joyfully celebrated the love that brought Jesus into the middle of our stories. Tonight we will light the Christ candle and celebrate the central figure of all history.

May you worship the King Jesus, the reason for our hope, faith, joy and love. He came once and he is coming again! He is supreme over all, our Prince of Peace, and the brilliant Light of our World!

Merry Christmas!

Christ Is Supreme
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Colossians 1:15-22 (NLT)

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Love is Here

By Fiona, age 5

Advent Love

Hi, my name is Fiona. We are all counting up to the day Jesus comes. This week’s candle is Love. God’s son is coming. We celebrate Jesus’s birth but guess what! He is already here! But we just celebrate that Jesus came into our lives. God’s son died on the cross instead of us. He died for our sins because he loved us. He still does love us.

The End

Love Fiona