Anna (Luke 2:22–24, 36–38) is a part of the Christmas story. It’s straightforward to overlook her amongst the many characters in Luke’s infancy narrative as a result of she has just a few verses, that are interrupted in the center by the story of a male disciple who’s given extra space (Luke 2:22–35). But Anna’s transient story presents a robust position mannequin for older adults.
Anna was eighty-four years outdated. That was a rare age in first-century Palestine, when the common life expectancy was lower than forty. In addition, she was widowed at a younger age. That was nothing wanting a calamity in a patriarchal society the place ladies had no standing aside from the males of their households. She spent the remainder of her life in the Temple, worshiping “night and day with fasting and prayer.”
Then sooner or later, Mary and Joseph introduced the toddler Jesus to the Temple, and Anna, a widow of superior age with completely no standing in the neighborhood, was given the grace to acknowledge him.
Anna was considered one of the first disciples. She was known as to acknowledge the risk of doing what should have appeared inconceivable: to break the silence imposed on ladies and talk about the grace she had been given. The eagerness with which she did so comes via in Luke’s transient abstract of her joyful proclamation: “She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”
The graces that Anna skilled have been all the extra extraordinary as a result of she was a girl. Throughout his ministry, Jesus evidenced a countercultural angle towards ladies, culminating when he commissioned Mary Magdalene to talk the information of the Resurrection to the male disciples (John 20:17)—an occasion so extraordinary that they refused to imagine her (Luke 24:10–11). Anna, a era earlier, was considered one of the first ladies known as to break boundaries. She acknowledged what was attainable and answered the name with eagerness and pleasure.
It’s price noting that Anna was not unprepared for these graces. She had nurtured the presents of prayer and deep contemplation throughout the lengthy years she spent in the Temple. Then, all unasked for, very late in life, God gave her the reward of prophecy and known as her to preach. She had completely different presents, at completely different occasions in her life.
As we expertise main modifications in our lives—widowhood or retirement or duties for growing old dad and mom—God could also be calling us to new types of discipleship and giving us the graces we want to reply the name.
—Excerpted from Answering God’s Call by Barbara Lee
Image: Simeon and Anna in the Temple by Rembrandt, public area by way of Wikimedia Commons.