Luke 2:36-40 NRSVue
36There 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, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At 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.
39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
The Christmas season celebrates the birth of a child but the Gospels include many venerable figures like Simeon, Elizabeth, Zechariah and, today, Anna. These people remind me of the fullness of life and wisdom that enrich human experience. I pray that young and old alike may people may benefit from each other's company.
I imagine that I live near Joseph’s house and that he and Mary often invite me in. I love to be there, and to play with the child. When Jesus smiles at me, my heart melts.
In this scene, Mary and Joseph are in the Temple with their child performing the rites that a poor Jewish family would.
Anna, the holy woman who had spent years in prayer and fasting, recognised that salvation had come in this child.
What did Anna see? How did she see it? Do I see it?
That last sentence is tantalising: it sums up 90% of Jesus’ life: /The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was with him./ Like the prophet Anna, Mary and Joseph watched their child and marvelled. We watch children with joy and awe, as they slowly take on the world. If children are deprived, it is not because we do not give to them, but because we do not treasure what they give to us.