Thursday, January 24, 2013

Luke 2:36-40

Luke 2:40 - The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. (full text here)

As Simeon rejoiced over the baby Jesus, a godly widow named Anna approached. Like Simeon, Anna thanked God for allowing her to live to see the Messiah. She was very old at this point, 84 at least, and had been a widow for at least six decades. She "never left the temple", perhaps sleeping in a temple chamber. Her devotion to God was evident as she devoted her life to fasting and prayer. She depended fully on God for physical and spiritual sustenance. Her faith was rewarded at this glimpse of her Savior, and she spent the rest of her life telling His story to all who would listen.

Although she merits only three verses in Scripture, Anna is a model to us today. She does not mope and bemoan her status as a widow. In giving her life to prayer and faith, she gained deep understanding of holiness and was in tune with the Holy Spirit. She was not a prophetess in the sense of a future predicting fortune teller, but a holy woman with deep experience in the divine who could give trusted advice. We are unlikely to be called to live a life as austere as Anna, but we are called to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and be always ready to provide a witness of what we have seen and heard about the Christ.

After Joseph and Mary had fulfilled the requirements of the Law they returned home to Nazareth, probably returning to scorn and gossip at the baby presumed to have been conceived before their marriage. Nevertheless, Jesus continued to grow in physical, mental, and spiritual strength. Although we have little detail from Scripture about Jesus' early years, from childhood God's loving grace filled his life.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

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