Lord, give me the patience and endurance of Anna.
Read LUKE 2:36–40
36 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, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 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.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
a Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be… asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thess. 5:5,6).
Finally, there is Anna. Luke concludes his account of the people who bore witness to the birth of Jesus with this elderly woman of the temple, the female counterpart of Simeon. We now have been introduced to an array of people, different from one another in almost every imaginable way, to whom God reveals the identity of Mary’s baby.
Luke’s account of Anna cries out for more details. He gives us her pedigree, but we know nothing of Penuel. She is very old. It’s not clear whether she is eighty-four years old, or whether she has lived eighty-four years since the death of her husband. At any rate, Anna is “up there” in age. She is cited here for her life of devotion. All these years she has spent in the temple, where, as a prophetess, she has probably spoken to many about the “consolation of Israel” (25) promised in Isaiah. She never ceases to worship in the temple and with fasting and prayer. We are not told if there is any particular reason why she continually fasts, but we get the picture of a
woman waiting faithfully for God to fulfill his word, longing for his promises to be fulfilled.
As Christians who recognize the birth of Christ but are still awaiting his return, there is a challenge to ponder concerning the example of Anna. The New Testament urges us to live in expectation of Christ’s return and the “eschaton,” or end time, when God will finally consummate all things. I fear that much distorted teaching about the “last days” has led us to ignore all that the New Testament has to say on this topic. The picture of Anna issues a challenge never to forget the transience of this world, whatever we find ourselves doing today.
How does your life today express your belief that Jesus Christ will return?
Lord, Your people are inspired by the example of Anna. Grant us the grace to abound in the work of the Lord day and night.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.