The Prophetess Anna Rule and Christmas.
A lifestyle of worship, fasting and prayer invigorates, stimulates us to be mobile, articulate, alert, spiritually sharp and unselfish.
Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go. Starbucks cups are greener, credit cards are wearing thinner and my wife is avoiding the mistletoe. Yes, my 62nd Christmas is here. It’s a great time to be with my three girls and Charlotte, reflecting on all the bad gifts I’ve given over the years. My best worst gift was when I got Nadine a picture of an expensive, iPad and said Merry Christmas, then conveniently forgot to buy it for her. That was the best!
Seriously, I love the family aspect of Christmas. I loathe the gift giving part and try hard to allow the meaning of Christmas to punch through those much-needed days off. But a life full of Christmas eve services, Christmas musicals and the never-ending seasonal music gets me sideways. I lose interest and am in need of a reset of what it really means to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
NOT THIS YEAR!
I am going to try “The Prophetess Anna Rule” this Christmas. Anna the Prophet’s story is found in Luke 2:36-38. Anna lives in the Temple. Regarding Anna, Luke provides three verses that manage to vividly depict her as a woman deserving the honor bestowed on the elderly in the ancient Mediterranean world (v. 36-38) her description (Luke 2:36). She outranks Simeon, a man praised as righteous and devout, who may be a priest because he holds the baby Jesus. Anna is the New Testament’s only named female prophet. Luke gives her father’s name, Phanuel, but not her husband’s. He mentions her tribe, Asher. As such, she numbers among the few New Testament characters with tribal listings. Others include Jesus, of the house and lineage of David and the tribe of Judah, Saul of Benjamin and Barnabas, a Levite.
“So what?”, you say! Well, check it out. If you read the text, she is ancient, she never leaves the Temple, and she serves God with fasting and prayers. She walks the Temple and moves around night and day; remember, she is OLD. She is alone and has been a widow for a lengthy time. Sounds like a priest to me! What really makes her unique is that because of her devotion to a relationship with God, she can recognize Jesus, and claims He is the one we are waiting for to receive redemption.
I think we can all see where this is going. It doesn't take a genius to see the connection between the time Anna the Prophetess spent hanging out with God in prayer, fasting and worship and her ability to recognize Jesus.
So, make the connection this Christmas. Spend an inordinate amount of time with Jesus starting now, it's not too late. This is going to be my deal. These days leading up to Christmas I'm going to spend as much time as possible with Jesus. This may be a last-minute deal; however, Jesus knows that and he's just happy I'm going to try. So, let's make this the best Christmas ever and let's do that by starting early with the prayer, the worship and the fasting. Let's use the Prophetess Anna Rule this Christmas.
Then the New Year comes. Let’s try a lifestyle of worship, fasting and prayer that invigorates, stimulates us to be mobile, articulate, alert, spiritually sharp and unselfish.