People of the Nativity – Day 8
- Luke 2:36-38
There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now 84 years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshipped God, fasting and praying. That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.
Even though the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) report many of the same events and episodes in Jesus’ life, each writer has his own themes and characteristics. One of Luke’s distinguishing marks is the prominent place he gives to women.
Among them is Anna, one of the few people who recognised Jesus as the Messiah when he was presented at the Temple as an infant. Anna was not like most women of her time. After her husband’s death, Anna would have been encouraged to marry again and have children. Anna, instead, chose to fast and pray, worshipping the Lord day and night.
What motivated her to live this way?
Anna was a woman of great hope. She had no doubt that God would fulfil all his promises. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was found daily in the house of the Lord, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking to others about the Lord’s promise to send a Redeemer.
We’re all getting older, and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we place our hope in earthly things. Anna’s hope in God and his promises grew stronger as she grew older. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope.
What do you hope for this Christmas? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness. Hope grows with prayer and age.