Today we are preparing our hearts to mourn with one who mourns. Later today we will offer our condolences and love to a good friend at the passing of her husband. Once again, in our humanity with tear stained eyes we look to heaven and wonder why there is so much suffering. Why must the rose have a thorn? Why must the rainbow be born out of the storm? Are there any answers? There are, but our tear stained eyes usually can’t see them in the midst of our pain. Perhaps the words below will help to apply the Christmas message to our suffering.
There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
~Doctor Luke, Luke 2:36-38
God invites those who are hurting into His family. Anna had only been married for seven years when the unthinkable happened, she lost her husband. In Anna’s time that meant she lost her income, her home and her protection. She was devastated. But God has a heart for the devastated. For eighty-four years Anna came under the protection of God as she worshiped him day and night in the temple.
Anna’s devastation drove her into a life of piety. Sometimes the beauty and the aroma of the rose leads us to a loving God, other times it is the prick of the thorn which drives us into the caring arms of our Savior.
Anna’s piety was rewarded with a glimpse of the redemption that God had promised the world. Her natural response to seeing Christ was to tell others of his life and mission.
My hope for you today is that you will find love and shelter in God’s family just like Anna did.
-Taken from Christmas Devotions