An Example

Nancy Hatcher, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | December 19, 2023

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 
Luke 2:36-38

Like many teenagers, my kids were sleepy-heads on Sunday mornings. “It’s Sunday, time to go to church,” I would coax. “Just a few more minutes,” they groaned. “Please!!!”

It’s not that they didn’t love our church; they couldn’t get enough of the music and messages. But I knew we had to do something to get them out from under the covers. So we promised them breakfast at our favorite local restaurant. And then—something miraculous happened. 

We met a lovely older woman who was a new greeter at the auditorium doors. She took a particular interest in my kids. Dorothy loved to give hugs and was interested in their lives; she genuinely wanted to know what made them tick. Imagine, now they wanted to get up to see their new friend.

When I read today’s passage, Dorothy came to my mind—in the gospel of Luke, Anna, a widow of many years, lived in a small room at the temple, worshiping every day and every night. Besides serving God day and night, Anna had a unique distinction; she was also a prophetess and predicted the birth of the Messiah. She must have waited and waited and waited some more for King Jesus to arrive on the scene.

A month after Jesus was born, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus went to the temple to offer their sacrifices, as was their custom. Simeon, another devout follower, took Jesus in his arms and presented Him in the temple. Anna also had the privilege of gazing into baby Jesus’s face. She gave thanks and proclaimed the Redeemer had finally come. 

After I read this passage, I recalled our friend who greeted us every Sunday and loved our children so well. Every time the doors opened, Dorothy worshiped God by serving people. Paul tells us in Romans to “… present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Anna’s example shows all of us worshiping and serving God is not just reserved for the young but also for the young at heart, like our loving greeter Dorothy.

PS. Because I like them—I dedicate this devotion to my faithful, friendly friends who serve week in and week out, opening doors, answering tons of questions, and loving people. 

Next Steps

Consider volunteering to greet at a concert or at our Christmas Eve services. Or check out other Willow serving opportunities.