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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: With Her Own Eyes
By Joanne Sher


She opened the door of her modest hovel and breathed in the scents of the nearby marketplace. It was early by most standards--the peddlers were just setting up shop--but she had important business to attend to.

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.

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.

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.

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.

"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."

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. Luke 2:36-38 NIV

* Luke 2:34-35 NIV

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This article has been read 1096 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter10/30/08
Lovely. I guessed it was Anna quite early on, but even so, my spine was tingling by the end - you took me into that amazing moment.
Leah Nichols 11/01/08
Beautiful retelling! Excellent writing....nice work.
Dee Yoder 11/01/08
I've never focused on that verse before, and what a unique perspective for this topic! Wonderful in every way.
Carole Robishaw 11/01/08
This was very good. A reminder of just one of the many people involved in bringing the word of His birth to the world. And a reminder that God does indeed keep His promises.
Melanie Kerr 11/01/08
A beaufitul retelling of a familiar story. I loved her faithfulness in being in the temple every day.
Sally Hanan11/01/08
This was great. You should get with some historian so that you can add in all the details of the buildings and smells and then send it somewhere.
Seema Bagai 11/01/08
You have such a talent with these Biblical pieces. I agree with Sally's suggestion. Expand this and get it published. :)
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/02/08
When I first heard the topic Anna immediately came to mind. I'm glad you wrote this wonderful piece about her.
Karlene Jacobsen11/02/08
If writing can be stunning, this is it! What a lovely portrayal of Anna, from her perspective.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/03/08
This is a beautiful story, magnificently told. I could feel the anticipation all the way through. One of your best and a favorite this week!
Catrina Bradley 11/03/08
Bravo! I love your take on the topic, and could feel Anna's anticipation and joy. Nice use of flashback. :)
Laury Hubrich 11/05/08
Awesome story. I love when you bring the Bible to life!
George Parler 11/05/08
Great job. You brought so much life to Anna. It made one of my favorite bible stories come to life in a unique way.

I've told this story many times through Simeon's eyes but never through Anna's. Well done.
LauraLee Shaw11/06/08
Masterfully and beautifully written, and an old story brought fresh to life. Love it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/06/08
Congratulations on EC! I'm soooo proud of you! Love, Verna
Sharon Kane11/06/08
Congratulations on your EC. You pulled out an obscure verse and filled it with so much meaning and emotion. Very well done.
Shirley McClay 11/06/08
So sweet! I especially love how you included the dog.. it made it so personal. Well deserved EC.. Congratulations, sweet friend!
Glynis Becker11/06/08
Another fantastic piece as always! Your descriptions are dialogue are always right on target. Congratulations!!
Charla Diehl 11/13/08
Wonderfully written. This is not a verse that I've ever zeroed in on, but glad you did. You brought it to life for me and many others too. Congrats in your placement.