Luke 2:36-38 (The Message) Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
Here’s what we know about Anna:
1. She’s a widow. She was married for only seven years before her hubby died, so she has lived as a widow for a quite sometime before she appears on scene in the Bible.
2. She lives at the Temple. I’m not sure if this is Luke’s cliché way of saying she loved to be at church 24/7, like when I was little and my parents volunteered with everything (seriously) including singing in the church choir. I lived at church as a youth. OK, I’m joking, but normal people have a second home like a beach house or cabin, mine was church. (This is not all bad, I am a preacher girl now aren’t I!) But maybe she really did actually “live” there. It may be that because she was a widow and poor, it was a place to live, or because she was devout, she was granted a place to live and serve.
3. She wanted more of God in her life. It says she committed her life to prayer and fasting.
4. She proselytized the coming Christ. I know ((eyes rolling)), that word is dangerous. But it’s what she did. She wasn’t afraid of sharing Christ and she spoke openly about his coming and his arrival at the Temple. She believed,and she wasn’t afraid to share it.
Besides these points that are worthwhile in themselves for us to know about Anna, two things grab me about her. First is the part about her praying and fasting. This is something Luke wants us to know about her. What an honor to be remembered as someone who devoted their life to God’s Church and to prayer and fasting! These are two things I don’t do very well at. I like to eat. I like to think about me. I was telling Jeremy last night that my real desire is to live my life like a prayer. That prayer would be woven in to all my thoughts and words and desires. That I would look at a piece of fruit and be thankful to God for providing for me that day. That I would slow down enough to see God’s children the way He see’s them.
This is kind of how I think Anna lived her life. She was so in tune with God that no one could help but not notice. If you asked about Anna….the first thing to come to mind was “Oh…Anna…she loved God….she devotes her whole life to him.” And so it is….I am quite fond of Anna.
Oh….and the last thing. Because she loved God, people listened and respected her. It doesn’t say there was an uproar because she called this little baby the “redemption of Israel.” They listened to her. How she lived must have been worth listening to.
Is your life worth listening to? How do you live out your daily walk so that when it’s time to speak, people listen?
Prayer: Lord, let my life be constant communion with you.