I try my best not to use this word.
Mainly because some people think everything is awesome.
That burger was awesome. That preacher has awesome hair. Tom Brady is...you get the point.
I guess you can say ‘awesome’ has lost some of its…awesomeness.
That was terrible.
But there are times when no other word can be used but awesome.
Here is the definition I’m working with:
awe-some: adjective—extremely impressive; inspiring great admiration
Know what’s awesome? This photo. Know why? Four of these women are 95 or older. They are the matriarchs of our church. These four women attend just about every event at the church. They are faithful worshippers, rarely missing a Sunday. They are the ones who at the end of a service offer me kind words of encouragement as they hug me.
These four women, their faith is awesome.
They are awesome not only because they laugh at my corny jokes, but also because they get it. They know what it means to show up. They know what it means to be present with each other. I mean, these four ladies have seen more in their lifetimes than I ever will.
Kind of like Anna.
I know, I’m rushing the story. Anna doesn’t appear until Luke 2 when Jesus is presented in the temple, but her faithfulness is important to note now in Advent.
“There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Ash’er. She was of great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Y’all, see what Luke is doing here? Luke is emphasizing Anna’s reliability so that her testimony regarding Jesus is unimpeachable. Her devotion to God is an emblem of her piety. She teaches that our waiting, when rooted in prayer and other spiritual disciplines, is never in vain. Anna didn’t remain idle while she waited for God’s good news. Anna bears witness to the words that the prophet Isaiah spoke, “…the Holy One longs to be gracious to you, and therefore God exalts Godself to show mercy to you. For the Holy one is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for God.”
Like Anna, these four saints have taught me so much about faith, hope, and love. They remind me how there is wisdom in the waiting. They teach me, every time we are together, breaking bread, about joy.
And that, my friends, is
Inspiring great (bigly) admiration.
May you in your waiting know God’s good news. May you trust how God longs to be gracious to you. And may you, as you anticipate the return of the light, welcome hope, knowing like Anna, that goodness will come to those who wait.
Questions to consider
Who are the wise prophets like Anna in your life? What wisdom my they offer up to you? How might they help you name God’s presence in your life with their stories of faith?
Thank you God for the awesome people who surround me with goodness and love.