Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple...and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Why did such a young widow remain alone all her life? Perhaps Anna’s husband was so terrible she vowed never to marry again. Or perhaps he was so wonderful that no one man could ever replace him. Either way, Anna could have spent her life in sorrow or resentment for the pain and tragedy that had come to her. Instead, she spent her life in prayer and fasting in the temple. She made a commitment to put her hope in God.
One day she saw Mary, Joseph and Simeon holding the baby Jesus in his arms. When she saw the couple with a baby she could have felt sorry for herself. After all, she had long ago lost her dreams of a husband, a home, and children.
Instead, “..she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” When she saw Jesus she saw the one God had sent to answer her prayers for redemption. Only God knows the powerful effect Anna’s prayers had.
Simeon waited on God to fulfill his promise to see the consolation of Israel. Anna hoped in God by a life of prayer, fasting and worship. God answered both their lifelong prayers through a baby, Jesus.
Let’s be like these two faithful people. Let’s keep eagerly placing our hope in Jesus. Let’s offer that hope to those we meet!
Prayer: God of Hope, thank you for sending Jesus as our consolation. Help us to be faithful in prayer like Anna. We pray for the redemption that comes through Christ. We pray for the redemption of Jerusalem, for our own nation, and for our world. Our hope is in you. Amen