Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hallelujah Chorus"1 (Lyrics)
In a sermon that he delivered in 1522, Martin Luther told the story of Simeon and Anna. There he praised Anna as full of the Holy Spirit: "Most assuredly the Holy Spirit dwelled in her, and consequently she was good and righteous regardless of all her works." Though the people around them may have dismissed Anna as an old fool, Luther stressed how prophetic, bold, and wise she was.
Luke 2:36-38 – There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (NRSV)
Today, we might be forgiven for moving away from such an elderly woman who was going on about the birth of a baby — unless we knew her story, her dedication, and her devotion to the things of God. Anna becomes the first female evangelist to proclaim the Christ Child. Anna was a widow who had lived a long life and had known sorrow without becoming bitter. Anna never ceased to pray and had spent her life in God's house with God's people. We are not told what she accomplished during those times, but we are given the impression that it was important for her people, as she was given the title of prophet. She waited, day by day, keeping her contact with God and drawing from God's strength.
In today's passage, the waiting is finally over, and she cannot keep quiet! She proclaims the good news to any and all who would listen as she shares what this Child would mean to Israel and to the world.
May it be our prayer likewise to glorify and praise God, and to proclaim the Messiah to any and all who wish to listen!
Prayer: "So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to all the generations to come." (Psalm 71:18 NRSV) Amen.