Day in the Octave of Christmas
December 30, 2013 8:30am
Mary and Joseph have just presented the child Jesus in the temple, and Saint Luke carefully notes the presence of this woman named Anna.
This is the only place Anna is ever mentioned in the gospels, but in these few verses we can get some insight into her and a lesson for ourselves.
First, Anna has been widowed for many years – probably about sixty years.
She knows hardship and sorrow, but she has not grown negative or bitter.
Instead, she comes across as a positive and peaceful person, a person of faith.
She has dealt well with adversity.
Second, Anna is old – 84 years-old – but she has not lost hope.
Sometimes age can take away not just the strength of our bodies, but also the strength of our spirits.
Sometimes age can cause the dying of our hearts and souls, but not with this woman Anna.
Luke says that she still gives thanks to God and looks forward to the one who will be a savior for God’s people.
And third, perhaps the reason for Anna’s peacefulness and hope is her perseverance.
The gospel says, probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it says “She never left the temple, but worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer.”
It’s easy to pray when we feel like it.
But Anna apparently just prays day in and day out, when she feels up and when she feels down, no matter what.
And that perseverance in praying has some payoffs for her: inner peacefulness, hope for the Savior, and now even insight to be able to identify the Savior in the child Jesus.
So, this simple, elderly, widowed woman is quite a good example for us.
Steady, faithful, persevering prayer – tending our relationship with God every day, no matter what – this can also help us too to have peace, to have hope, and to have insight into how God is present to us now and what God wants us to do.
Anna is a great figure for us.
Our thanks to Saint Luke for remembering her for us.