Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)
TITLE: With Her Own Eyes
By Joanne Sher
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She smiled as she ambled down her street. She knew just what she would see along the way. She had made this walk every day, several times a day, for decades. Certainly, she was moving along slower than she did back when she was young, but the view was the same. At least it was a short distance--it rarely took her more than five minutes.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a scrap of bread. A scruffy dog trotted to her, then waited for the old woman to lower her hand. She obliged him and patted him on the head with her other hand.
"And good morning to you too. And that it will be, my canine friend."
The mutt rubbed its furry body against her leg. She chuckled.
"I'm sorry, little fellow, but I have important business. No time to play." She lowered her voice. "The Lord has given me wonderful news, and I must see about it."
This was the event she and her people had been anticipating for centuries. Up until a few months ago, she had assumed that it would happen after she was already in Abraham's bosom, an event which, at her age, she suspected would occur soon. But just a few months ago, the Lord sent her a very special message.
It wasn't the first message she had received from Him--she was a prophetess, after all. But it was certainly the most exciting, the most life-changing.
<I>My dear child, My faithful one, before this year is over, you will see, with your own eyes, My salvation.
Dear Anna, even now He who Isaiah spoke of is growing in the womb of one of My precious children. She will bring Him to the temple after her days of impurity are completed, and I will give you the privilege and responsibility to bless and prophesy about Him in His very presence.
You have been faithful to Me these 84 years of your life, Anna, and I will be faithful to fulfill this promise to you, and My people, before I bring you home to be with Me.</I>
The hope in her heart sparked that day, and had grown bigger each day since. Her prayers had become more fervent, her trips to the temple more frequent, over the past several months.
"So the Lord says, be ready and repent," she had proclaimed at least daily in the temple courts. "The Messiah--the Christ--is at hand."
Anna had also begun to fast each midday, purifying herself in preparation for this amazing event to come.
"I will see the Lord's Anointed with my own feeble eyes," she'd announced to her reflection daily since the Lord had spoken of it. And this morning, she heard a response.
<I>It will be today, dear Anna. Today, at the time of the morning sacrifice, My Salvation, My Light to the Gentiles, will appear in the temple courts, and to you. Go now, Anna, and see My Anointed One.</I>
"Yes, dear dog, it will be a good day, for today the Lord will show me His salvation."
It was with quickened, yet faltering steps that she entered the temple courtyard moments later. She stopped by the entrance to the temple itself and knelt, reciting her morning prayers. After several minutes, she rose and looked up at the majesty of the temple.
A familiar voice met her ears: that of her dear friend Simeon, a fellow devotee of the Lord. She turned her eyes to look in his direction. He was with a young couple and held an infant in his arms.
She cupped her ear as she walked toward them.
"This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed." Simeon's gravelly voice lowered, and he turned toward the young woman. "And a sword will pierce your own soul too." *
Anna's heart leapt in her chest. She took a few hesitant steps until she was standing right beside her friend. Tears running down her cheeks, she gazed into the eyes of the Anointed One resting in Simeon's arms.
"Thank You, Lord."
<center><I>There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, 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.</I> Luke 2:36-38 NIV</center>
* Luke 2:34-35 NIV
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