By Joel Hoffschneider
The ancient season that we know as Epiphany was awash with the frantic activity of Wisemen, gifts, dedication, and an unexpected move to Egypt. Holding on bravely in this storm of activity was Mary. What this young girl had to process, besides being the Mother of God, was no less emotionally challenging.
First, a visit by shepherds, nomadic people who so rarely came to civilization, it was possible to go your whole life and not actually meet one. Second, messages from aged Prophets, who proclaimed in a tone and language usually reserved for kings.
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
But directly after this came the prophetess Anna.
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who was ancient; 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.
Her prophesy seems like a footnote until you realize it wasn’t what was said…but how. Simeon and Anna spoke for all to hear, but Anna also spoke to Mary’s emotional soul as a woman, wife, and mother.
And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart, where love for this boy was growing stronger. Despite knowing that someday, losing her son would be the emotional equivalent of a sword through her very heart. Mary’s love for Jesus remained unwavering and strong.
That is unconditional love.
As you embark on this journey through the Epiphany season, may your love and devotion mirror the same unconditional love that Mary showed to Jesus.