There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshipped God, fasting and praying. That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free. (verses 26-38)
Read Luke 2: 22-40
Christmas is for old people. Just look at how many old people are involved in the story: Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist, and Simeon and Anna, two old prophets in the temple. God promised that in the last days he would pour out his Spirit on everyone, so that the sons and daughters would proclaim his message (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17). Have you noticed that it is the old people who are the first to receive this gift? Old Elizabeth and Zechariah, old Simeon and Anna – these are the people who proclaim the coming of the Messiah.
Our society tends to rubbish the elderly, to shut them away in nursing homes and expect very little of them. Not so with God! He doesn’t retire people at sixty-five. He has put his message in the mouths of old people. Perhaps it’s time to think again what ‘old age’ really means. The old people are God’s gift to his church.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of old age. Be with all who are growing old; grant them health in body and soul. Grant them your Spirit so that they, like Simeon and Anna, might see your salvation and be glad. Bless the work of all who work in aged care, so that all people might be enabled to grow old being cared for and with dignity. Amen.
by Allie Ernst, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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