The person we are spotlighting today from the Christmas story is Anna who has the remedy to greed and materialism. I shared this quote in the ★ Thought for the Day – Begging God For_____? ★ post, where we saw that the key to being content is gratitude but it’s worth repeating!
“What is you woke up today with only the things you were grateful for yesterday?”
“The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.”
And I think that is really true. My old lifegroup leader in NJ was like that. There was such peace in his spirit and he was a fantastic leader as well. He once said this that had really impacted me…
“Very few things honor and glorify God more than the sweet fragrance of a thankful soul. It scatters the darkness and ushers in the sweet peace and blessed hope. Gratitude encourages graciousness.” Leo Primero
Amen? I love that…“Gratitude encourages graciousness.” Following up yesterday’s post ★ Day 18 – Reason for the Season – Jesus Is _____ ★ of Mary and Joseph’s encounter with Simeon, today we will look at the prophetess Anna whose name interesting enough means “grace.” Let’s take look at this incredible woman of God! Luke 2:35-38 (NIV) says,
“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Anna’s story is kind of a sad one…married in her youth and then widowed after just seven years. Interestingly she lived in a culture that being married an having children is everything yet Anna chose not to remarry but instead devoted herself to God as she “worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” Anna was 84 years old, which is incredible that she had the stamina to pray and fast night and day. I am half that age and do not think I would be able to do that myself. I was reading a devotion from Liz Curtis Higgs called “Lord, I Want to Be Like This Woman” and she made this interesting point,
“At the Holy Spirit’s prompting, she [Annna] made a beeline for the Christ child, “coming up to them at that very moment” (Luke 2:38a, NIV). We sense her urgency, her excitement, her conviction.”
You know those people that hover around you until they can get a word in edgewise, well you can tell that Anna was so excited to see the savior of the world she could barely contain herself! And she did not linger to talk with Mary and Joseph, but “she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Her level of gratitude was off the charts but how do you think she got there?
I heard an amazing sermon from Steven Furtick called ”Graduating in Gratitude” which he quoted Brene Brown who said,
“Gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works, it’s not alive.
You cannot have just an attitude of gratitude because just having and attitude does not translate to a behavior.” Brene Brown
It is clear that Anna had practiced gratitude for decades and I think God is speaking to us through her example that if we want to have a life full of joy and peace; we need to start practicing some gratitude ourselves!! Instead of looking at what we don’t have, we need to follow the counsel from the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NLT)…
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.”
I will close with this last thought from Liz Curtis Higgs’ devotional,
“Anna was prepared and so prepared the way. Now it falls to us, 2,000 years later, to follow in her footsteps. To tell everyone we know, everything we know about Jesus.
When we ease our breathless pace, when we stop, look and listen, we can sense the gentle weight of His touch and take comfort in the warmth of His presence.
In this season, in every season, let’s pause and remember Immanuel: God with us.”
It’s all about Gratitude! Thank you God for Anna, may I follow her example and cultivate and everlasting gratitude in my life!
If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 20 – Reason for the Season – The Father’s Love ★
Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★