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Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ~ "Anna" ~Susan McGurgan D.Min.

Embedded deep within the Bible--

and just a little hidden sometimes,

by the Prophets

and the Kings

and the Warriors

and the Priests

and the Fishermen

and the Scribes

and the Pharisees

and the Levites

and the Apostles

and the Elders

and the Stewards...

are the stories of women who

hoped in the Lord--

the stories of women who waited

and watched

and gave thanks.

Embedded deep within the Bible

and just a little hidden sometimes

are the stories of women who believed.

It can be easy to miss them--

it can be easy to pass them by,

or to fail to see

how remarkable they really are.


their stories take up only

a line or two of text

with just a hint

or a suggestion

of what really happened.


like the sinful woman

who bathed Jesus with her tears,

the women are talked about

but never actually speak.


like the woman at the well,

or the widow with two mites,

or Simon's wife,

we never even know their names.

But in a world

that often dismissed their words

and lost their names--

in a world

where women could not legally testify,

God asked each of them

to become a witness.

God chose

time and time again,

to use a woman's words,

a woman's voice

a woman's resources

a woman's life

a woman's body--

to help tell our most amazing story.

Mary's "yes"

Elizabeth's hope.

Martha's leadership.

Joanna's generosity.

Magdalene's proclamation.

And Anna's sight.

Old and widowed,

forgotten by the world,

who was she to recognize the Lord?

Yet, somehow,

Anna was open enough,

or maybe she was empty enough,

connected enough,

hopeful enough,

to look at Mary and Joseph and the baby

and see--

not just a peasant child--

but the Savior of the world.

Luke calles her "prophetess."

Now, that doesn't mean

she had a set of parlor tricks

like mind reading,

or conjuring,

or fortune telling,

or re-arranging the first letter of every other Scripture verse

into a code to predict the future.

Rather, a prophetess

is someone who knows

that the way things are today

are not the way things have to be.

A prophetess

is someone who looks at brokenness

and knows it can be made whole.

A prophetess is a person--

like you or me--

who believes that God's fingerprints

mark our lives;

and then angles a lens

so that others might see God's presence

with new eyes.

Anna knew

when she saw Jesus

that everything had changed.

Everything she and her people longed for--

freedom, hope, salvation, healing, life--

was already here among them.

Anna looked around at a world

where people could be enslaved

and saw the One

who would set both the captives

and the masters


She gazed out at a world

littered with broken shards

and saw the One

who could make all things whole.

Anna knew that her voice,

her witness,

her vision,

was important

and so she spoke out in praise and thanksgiving,

whether anyone was listening

or not.

(Here the preacher could offer concrete examples of transformation, Good News, and new life that have meaning for the community. It is an opportunity to invite people to embrace their call to give thanks to God; to become witnesses to the truth of the Christ child--even if the world says their words don't matter. )

No wonder Anna gave thanks!

No wonder she became a witness,

even when her world said,

"Your words don't matter. "

Anna didn't care.

She knew everything had already changed.

Image by AiArtista from Pixabay

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