At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:38
A Redeemer will come to Zion… Isaiah 29:20a
Anna, daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, lost her husband after but eight years of marriage. In the midst of loss and the grief, there is no record of family or friends to surround her with encouragement and comfort. Even in her title of prophetess, we read nothing of a notable position, theological presentation, or even recognition. After all she is a woman, what is she doing at the temple anyhow? There is One who took note of her hurting heart: Yahweh! Now in her eighty-fourth year, while infant Jesus was being presented to the religious leaders of the Temple, “at that very moment …” Anna came.
The source from which this little widow seeks her solace is an undeniable legacy for all living in the midst of a hurting world – especially at Christmas. God did not come to Anna because of what she had achieved for Him. With her hurting human soul, Anna chose to draw near to the heart of God, giving herself in worship: “She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers” (Luke 2:37). Anna’s faithful loyalty to the Father was rewarded: she was one of the first to witness the fulfillment of God’s promise proclaimed so many years ago. “For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:12b). Her redeemer had come! As she gazed upon the newly born Christ child, “she came up and began giving thanks to God …” (Luke 2:38a). In her ecstasy of celebration, Anna responded with the only response possible for one touched by God Himself – “she continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem”(Luke 2:38b).
The “official” celebration of Christmas is past. How is my soul responding in the midst of a hurting world? Is Jesus enough for me, or have I exchanged “doing” for seeking and living in the true presence of Joy and Gladness – Christ Jesus? “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing…O come, let us adore Him… Christ the Lord!” Christmas continues as the Father chooses a heart of worship to make ready the arrival of His Son – the Redeemer!