A Message from Jim Showers
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess. . . . She gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Lk. 2:36, 38).
Someone who receives little recognition in the story of our Savior’s birth is Anna, an elderly widow in Jerusalem (Lk. 2:36–38). Society often neglects or ignores elderly people—widows even more so. But the Lord didn’t forget Anna.
She entered the Temple just in time to see Simeon take the Christ Child in his arms and bless God. She beheld the Redeemer of Israel. The 84-year-old widow’s fading eyes saw the long-awaited Savior as Mary and Joseph presented their newborn Son in the Temple, according to the custom of the Law (v. 27). She knew instantly that this was the miraculous Child whom the prophets foretold would bring salvation to Israel.
Anna devoted her widowed life to serving in the Temple. Luke tells us she “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (v. 37). She was a prophetess from the tribe of Asher who was widowed after seven years of marriage. In the Hebrew language, Asher means “happy,” an appropriate designation for Anna, who felt unbridled joy on this day. Even more personally noteworthy, Anna means “grace.” She rejoiced when she saw the One who would provide God’s grace for man.
In this short passage, Anna paints a beautiful picture of the significance of Christ’s birth, one that guides us as we celebrate Christmas. First, she thanked the Lord. Anna had much for which to be grateful. She had seen the miracle of the newborn Messiah with her own eyes and witnessed the long-awaited Redeemer of Israel who had come to Earth. This is the wonderful message of Christmas. Hope is not lost; the Savior has come!
But Anna did more. She expressed her thanksgiving to the Lord not just in word but in deed, as she went forth declaring to all who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem that the Redeemer had come. Whether people believed her testimony or not, Anna proclaimed the opening message of God’s grace.
God used one godly woman, advanced in years, to tell the people of Jerusalem their Messiah had come. God can use you this Christmas, just as He did Anna, to gratefully announce to all in need of redemption the miracle of Christmas—the Savior of the world is born. The greatest gift anyone can ever receive is God’s grace!
Celebrating Messiah’s birth,
Jim Showers, DMin