36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
It is so interesting to think about what stories the gospel writers included in their books. Today’s passage is a story to remind us how much God organises things – how His has plans and how they come to fruition. He made sure Mary and Joseph and Simeon and Anna were all at the temple at the same time. Remember both Simeon and Anna were likely to be very old. Anna obviously spent most of her time at the temple, but Simeon responded to a prompt from God to be there. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus in line with the law – it might have been soon after his birth or it might have been after months or more. There was no way to predict which day they would all be there together. However, God made sure it happened so the gift of Jesus to His people could continue to be properly celebrated – here in this story by Anna bringing her worship and prayer made beautiful and strong through years of practice. What a beautiful way to set up the beginning of His life. The passage tells us that this continued throughout his childhood – He grew up healthy, strong and full of wisdom.
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of Jesus and our salvation through His life and death. Thank you that you have big plans, world changing plans and that you bring them to be. Help us Lord to hear you about the plans you have for the world today. Help us to hear our part in those plans. Help us to believe that you can bring them to be despite what we can see in front of us. Help us to see your love and grace in the everyday stories we see playing out. Amen.
Written by Therese Manning