Most of us are familiar with the people who visited the stable that night in Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But Mary and Joseph didn’t remain there, and eventually left Bethlehem. When the time came, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as was required by the Law of Moses).
And just as he did when the first birth announcement was made to an unlikely group of shepherds, God chose two people as the first ones to welcome young Jesus on his trip to Jerusalem.
Luke tells us about two prophets who had spent their lives waiting for the Messiah to come. One was a man named Simeon whose patience and faithfulness you can read about in Luke chapter 2. The other was a woman named Anna, who held strong in her faith despite a tragedy when she was younger. Luke writes:
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, 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. (Luke 2:36–38)
As a widow, particularly in that time, it would have been easy for Anna to believe the lie that she was no longer useful. Instead, she displayed her trust in God by continuing to meet regularly with others to worship God. As a result, Anna’s life of faithfulness positioned her to recognize the arrival of the Savior. And she got the privilege of using her voice and influence to make Jesus known.
It’s hard not to turn inward when we experience grief. But Anna kept her sense of purpose and calling. Perhaps she knew there could still be purpose despite her pain. This Christmas may be difficult for you. It might remind you of someone you’ve lost. Even as you grieve, know that God sees you and is with you. You are not alone. You’re a valuable part of the story he’s still writing.
Heavenly Father, Anna had every reason to be wrapped up in her own story. Yet, somehow, she was able to see herself in your story and used her voice to tell others about Jesus. Give us the strength to persevere when we’re in the midst of difficult seasons. Thank you for always being with us. Amen.
Luke tells us about two prophets who had spent their lives waiting for the Messiah to come. One was a man named Simeon whose patience and faithfulness you can read about in Luke chapter 2. The other was a woman named Anna, who held strong in her faith despite a tragedy when she was younger.