Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Beginning and End( 04/16/09)
By Johnna Stein
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For years, they have whispered behind my back. Misplaced pity poured from their eyes as they shook their heads. How could I explain? No one would have believed me. In their eyes, I remained a pitiful widow with no direction. At first, rumors abounded that the goal of my devotion in prayer and worship was to find a new husband. As the years progressed and I never remarried, people became confused and invented numerous theories as to why I would go to the temple day and night.
I experienced great inner joy and peace communing with Yahweh. As the villagers entered the temple, I counted it a privilege to silently pray for them and their burdens. Although I had never audibly heard His voice, I heard Him whisper in my spirit that I would get a glimpse of His face before I breathed my last. This promise anchored me to the hope of the future. Each new day I became like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon ready to take flight. Could this be the day? I would ask myself each morning at the break of dawn. How will I know for certain?
Today I know. How could I ever have doubted? My eyes follow Simeon as he approaches the young couple cradling their newborn. He reaches a wrinkled finger toward the babe and the babe’s cries cease. Simeon lifts the bundled baby high over his head and declares God’s faithfulness for all to hear.
The flutter of doves’ wings sets my heart racing again and I feel pulled toward the young couple cradling their newborn. A baby? Shall I see Him in a baby’s face?
As I draw closer, I become light on my feet as if I am a child again. It feels like I'm prancing on fluffy clouds and I feel no pain from my cranky old bones. The child’s mother smiles and her eyes welcome me. She places him in my arms, arms that have ached to hold a child. I behold His radiant face and streams of light beams race through my body. Joy overwhelms me and I can no longer hold my tongue. I sing out the song welling deep from within my soul, “Praise be to Yahweh, keeper of His promises, Father of salvation. The glory of the Lord is revealed to us here today. The redemption of Jerusalem, the light of the world, our hope and salvation live in this Child.”
I dare to brush a kiss on His tender forehead, then reluctantly render him unto his humble mother. The husband wraps a protective arm around his wife and gazes with adoration at his Son. The family of three departs in silence.
Warm tears of joy wash over my cheeks. Through clouded vision, as if in a dream, I watch them leave. I fall to my knees and raise my crooked hands to praise Yahweh for His faithfulness. I am ready to meet my Maker.
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