Waiting with Expectation


Introduction

This meditation is in the form of a visualisation. You are encouraged to imagine what it was like in Jerusalem at the time Jesus was born. Allow yourself at least an hour for this, two would be better.


Don’t rush into the meditation, spend time preparing yourself first.

Preparation (allow at least 15 minutes for this)

Take time to rest, relax, turn off from the busyness of the things that have been part of your day so far and focus your thoughts on the Lord.


Don’t rush this.

Do a relaxation exercise; make a note of anything you need to remember that would otherwise distract you.


Come to that quiet place where you meet with God,

Pause

Enjoy the stillness and peace of these moments with the Lord.


Pray

Ask the Lord to help you imagine just what it was like for the people who were waiting for their Messiah. Ask Him to help you open your heart and your mind to what He wants to say to you about waiting.


Reflection

In your imagination, go back in time to Jerusalem and specifically to the temple area.


The scriptures and the people involved will be very familiar to you but as you spend time with them stay with the events as they unfold and try and capture afresh something of what was going on for them then.


Many of the Israelites had settled in the surrounding countries, they were refugees, scattered amongst other people groups yet within Jerusalem there were still those who were waiting – faithfully waiting – for the fulfilment of the prophecies. Prophecies which were now 400 years old, prophecies of a deliverer, a Messiah, the Son of Man.


As you go back in time and place go to the first century and the temple in Jerusalem. This is a magnificent building; it is still under construction after 46 years or so of building, but the centre of attention. There are visitors thronging the outer courts, pilgrims, religious leaders, Pharisees, devout men and women all going about their activities within the temple. There would be quite a crowd around with all the noise that a crowd makes in the hustle and bustle of daily life around the temple – the centre of life and activity for many in Jerusalem.


As you walk through the magnificent portico you come to the outer court, the Court of the Gentiles, and again lots of people wandering about, just looking at the building, maybe coming to exchange their money for temple money, or those in the thriving market area looking for an animal fit for their sacrifice – haggling over the best price.


Imagine the cacophony of noise and smell – the crowds of people and the animals tethered there. Amongst the people would be the beggars, the infirm, those with various diseases crying out for alms. Priests and teachers attracting crowds to listen to or debate the latest ideas - a hive of activity, busy, noisy and pilgrims struggling to get through the crowds and into the temple


If you move on in with the pilgrims and enter the temple the atmosphere changes, there’s a marked stillness, you are entering into a sacred space, it is quiet, peaceful, a sanctuary where people are at prayer.


In the Court of women you would see faithful women at prayer – and if you looked around you would see, amongst the faithful, Anna. Anna is an elderly lady; she’s in her 80’s, a widow and a prophetess who can trace her family back through the generations. Anna never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying – not in any religiously ostentatious way - simply devoutly worshipping and waiting for the redemption of Israel, the salvation of her people.


When you are ready return to the present to pause and consider what you can learn from Anna. You may want to check out the account in St Luke 2:36-38

Pause and consider

What sort of person was Anna?

What motivated Anna?

What best describes her waiting?

What can you learn from this?

Does this have anything to say to you and your situation?


Respond and Pray

Respond to your meditation in a creative way, maybe using craft materials, chalks or crayons, or writing a poem, talking to the Lord as you do so.


Journal

Before you leave your time of reflection make a note of anything that seems important to you, anything you feel the Lord has shown you, or said to you as you have considered Anna, waiting with expectation.