“Grandmother Anna, you must stay in today,” I sigh for the third time that morning. “You’re not well.”
My mother’s grandmother smiles at me, her eyes disappearing behind layers of soft wrinkled skin. “I am as well as I have ever been. The Lord’s work will not wait. I must go and pray at the temple.”
“You are always there,” I say, gently pulling her back down onto a chair. “You never leave, but for this morning when your own daughter was ill.”
“Please rest, Anna,” my mother says, entering the room. “Lois is right. You did not sleep at all last night. To go to the temple is–”
“Necessary. Very necessary.” She tilts her head at me. “What if this is the day?”
“You say that every day.”
“Because it is always true.” She breathes deeply, eyes closed. “This could be the day our Messiah is come.” She opens her eyes, stands up, and waddles out the door. I just sigh again.
As adamant as she can be, Grandmother Anna inspires me every day. For as far back as I can remember, as far back as my mother can remember, she has stayed at the temple. Not come and gone as she pleases, but stays. She prays night and day, and only leaves under the most dire circumstances, such as this morning. My grandmother has been terribly ill for weeks, and last night we were afraid we would lose her; so we called for Anna. Somehow, Grandmother Anna seems hardly ever to get sick. She is tired, I’m sure. She gets so little sleep, especially for one so old. But her daughter grows frail and sick and she presses on.
“God promised I would see His promise fulfilled,” she has always told me. “Until then, I’m stuck on this earth.”
Grandmother Anna stops by that night to check on her daughter. “Was today the day?” I ask as she enters our home.
She shakes her head. “No, my dear, but perhaps tomorrow. God is faithful.”
“Yes, He is, Grandmother Anna,” I say. “And He will fulfill His promise to you.” It’s an automatic response: it gets her to stop talking about it because she thinks I believe her. And I do. It’s just been forever since she started waiting.
But, soon thereafter, her waiting is over.
It’s dusk, and we are all sitting down to eat dinner. Everyone is quietly enjoying the meal when someone bursts through the front door. My father is the first to react. “Anna?” he says, eyebrows up. “What is the matter?”
We all stand up when she enters. Her face is glowing, like I have never seen it glow before. “I saw Him.”
We all look at each other. We know Who He is.
I leave my place at the table and come around to clasp her hands. “God has finally sent our Messiah?”
Tears fill her eyes. “He has come. Our Messiah. Our Redemption. He is here.”
“What is He like?” I plead. “Is He great and powerful? What did He say?”
She sinks down to her knees and lifts her hands. “He is great, but He is small. He said nothing. He is only a Child, as was prophesied. And He will be our peace.”
The stories are all true. I remember the prophecies and the promises–all the promises Anna held to–as we sit there on the floor in my home rejoicing. I don’t know what it all means, but I know that yesterday, all we had was hope. And now, our Hope has come. Yesterday, we prayed for peace. Today, Anna met the Prince of Peace. He is here. And He has come to redeem us.