See the INTRODUCTION FOR THIS SERIES in the #SoulH2O post two weeks ago Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story  The series is talking about how each of the #ChristmasWomen were:

CARRIERS – OF THE PROMISE & PRESENCE OF GOD

THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN – ELIZABETH was the first Christmas Woman celebrated.  I talked about how she protected the promise of God.  Last week celebrated THE TEENAGER – MARY discussing how she was willing to be inconvenienced to carry the promise and very presence of God, Emmanuel: God with us. 

Read on to learn about our last Christmas Woman everyone’s been wondering about…

THE SENIOR CITIZEN…

CHRISTMAS WOMEN-ANNASince I’m totally breaking my format for #SoulH2O devotions with this series, I decided to share the whole of Anna’s story with you (a whopping 3 verses) because so many of you have commented or sent me messages saying you can’t wait to see who the Senior Citizen is.  This lets me know that many of you don’t know who she is, so you probably don’t know her story and she’s absolutely a woman worth celebrating!

The Prophecy of Anna

“Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years.  Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.  She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”                                                   Luke 2:36-38  NLT

Anna is the last of our Christmas women.  She was the only woman who didn’t carry a physical baby in her body, but there is no doubt in my mind that she carried the promise and presence of God to the people in her day.

Anna knew what it was like to face hard times.  She was widowed at a very young age and never had any children. During Jesus’ time women who weren’t married didn’t hold much value in their society so this fact lets you in on how “unimportant” Anna could have seemed to many in her day, but Anna was a prophet.  She spent her days serving in the temple, worshipping God with fasting and prayer.  It was out of this lifestyle that she heard from God and shared His messages to His people.

There’s so much that sticks out in my mind about Anna, but the words waiting expectantly from Anna’s life-story just jump out at me and Christmas really is a time when people are found waiting expectantly.

WAITING EXPECTANTLY

For centuries children on Christmas Eve have hung stockings by the fireplace and struggled to fall asleep with nervous anticipation of what Santa will bring in the morning. My kids were no different than the masses.  In order to help my kids be able to fall asleep on Christmas Eve I started a tradition where they were allowed to open one gift at bedtime.  That gift was always a pair of new pajamas and a book.  Not the most exciting gift, but it created the atmosphere I hoped for.  Brandon and Shelby would change into their PJ’s and were allowed to read their new books before lights out.  The PJ’s made for nice pictures on Christmas morning and the books helped them fall asleep.

Waiting expectantly on Christmas Eve is pretty simple for kids since they know the next morning is Christmas day and they can see wrapped presents under the tree. The way Anna and others waited expectantly for the promise of God to be fulfilled wasn’t so easy.  Anna had been waiting for about 60 years.  She was doing all the right and good things while waiting but she had been waiting for oh so long!  She never gave up hope waiting for the promised Emmanuel, the Messiah…JESUS to come.

Maybe you’ve been waiting a long time for your promise.  Maybe you feel like too much time has passed and you need to “move on” or “give up”.  I pray Anna’s story restores your hope and gives you faith to believe.  Know that at Christmas and always, God keeps His promises and fills you with His presence while you wait.

Prayer

Father…I thank You that you’re not like Santa doling out gifts I don’t need.  You make promises to me and fulfill them in Your perfect timing.  You know exactly what I need and what’s best for me.  Help me to trust You and Your timing.  May I live with a special expectancy this Christmas carrying my Promise from You and Your Presence within so I can share it with the world when my promise is ‘born’.  In Jesus Name…Amen

ANNA CARRIED THE PROMISE AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD…I WANT TO BE LIKE HER.

If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

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You can often find me linking up with:
MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth,
THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

Sherry Stahl