Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 6, 2008

Anna’s Christmas Thanks

   I love the Christmas story and all of the characters, named and unnamed, whose roles are recorded in Scripture. As I read this familiar story again today, I became reacquainted with Anna. Luke tells the story of this elderly prophetess in three brief verses (Luke 2:36-38). Anna was a descendent of the tribe of Asher, one of the ten tribes that formed the northern kingdom. She served as a second witness (after Simeon) to the identity of Jesus when He was presented at the temple in Jerusalem. The name Anna means “grace” and is the same as the Old Testament name Hannah. Although mentioned only briefly, Luke reveals some important things about Anna.

   Anna was very old and a widow. Life was difficult for widows in that day. While the Law called for the fair and humane treatment of widows, often they were neglected and exploited. Anna did not remarry after her husband died but remained a widow for eighty-four years. Assuming Anna married at the age of fifteen, she was probably over one hundred years old at the time of Jesus’ birth. She had lived a century prior to the birth of Jesus and had witnessed many changes in Israel. Yet, through all those years she had never stopped yearning for the consolation of Israel — for the arrival of the Messiah.

   Anna was great in age and great in her devotion to God. Luke said that she never left the temple — which could be understood to mean that she was there “every time the doors were open.” Anna was a familiar sight to those who went to the temple on a regular basis. She had devoted her life to worshiping God night and day and to fasting and praying. Like Anna, we should seek to worship God both personally and with others. And, like Anna, we should develop the spiritual disciplines that can help us to serve God for a lifetime.

   Anna took the initiative to approach the infant Jesus, his family, and Simeon. Luke didn’t record Anna’s words — only that she gave thanks to God for the child who would provide redemption for the nation (Isa. 52:9). Thanksgiving is an appropriate response to God for the indescribable gift of His Son (2 Cor. 9:15). Anna’s thanksgiving overflowed as she continued to speak about Jesus to all who were looking forward to or expecting the redemption of Israel (a phrase synonymous with “the consolation of Israel” in verse 25). Like Simeon, Anna was privileged to see the Messiah. As a result, Anna could not keep silent about Jesus.

   Let’s not keep silent about Jesus this Christmas. Instead, let’s look for every opportunity to speak with others about Jesus. Just tell His story — why He came and how He can make a difference in the lives of those who will trust in Him. And, tell your story — what Jesus means to you, how He has changed your life, and why you love Him. I know the phrase seems overused at Christmas, but we must continue to remind the world that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”


Responses

  1. Omar,

    I have been reading your resent posted one those are Anna’s Christmas. This is good ones to me that I could preach in our Christmas service. Your sites and blog is good tool box for me.

    I am keep reading all new pages.

    Mortuza
    Dhaka, Bangladesh


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