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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: January 3, 2023

Our reading from Luke today is always the Gospel reading for the First Sunday after Christmas, which I think means I’ve preached on this text every year I’ve been in the ministry, so probably fifteen or sixteen times now. And while I don’t remember every sermon I’ve preached on this text, one thing I do know is that I’ve always focused on Simeon and never on Anna.

Now, it’s easy to see why I’ve done that. We get a lot more details about Simeon. He’s the one who has received a promise from God that he won’t die until he sees the Christ. Luke gives us this glorious song of praise that Simeon sings. We’re told that Anna gave thanks to God at the arrival of Christ but we’re not given any specific words. Poor Anna. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Except, of course, that she is, in a sense, a beautiful picture of the bride of Christ. Here you have an aged woman surrounded by sorrow. She was widowed at a young age, only seven years into her marriage. But instead of giving herself over to despair or running into the arms of another man, Anna waits for the arrival of the true Bridegroom, the Savior of the world. She commits herself to a life of prayer and praise, spending day and night in the temple faithfully waiting for the day when her Redeemer will arrive. And when He does, this aged saint can’t keep the praise from flowing out of her mouth.

May God grant us the heart of Anna as we wait for Christ’s return. As we dwell in a world of sorrow as widows, as we live with broken hearts and trembling hands, may God turn us from the temptation to seek comfort in the arms of another husband, in the arms of anger or bitterness or riches or pride. Rather, may God give us the strength to pray and fast day and night in the temple of the church, hungering for his mercy and feasting on his promises without ceasing. And when Christ arrives, may we receive Him on the last day like Anna did, with joy erupting from our hearts and our mouths.

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