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Luke 2:36-40

The Word of God

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Luke 2:36-40
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The redemption of Jerusalem was such a long time coming, so many centuries. Think how many old women in Israel looked forward in vain over all those years. How blessed was Anna that she saw the Saviour just before she died. Think how blessed we are to have the Saviour near us every day of our lives.
    • Jesus spent thirty, of his thirty three years on earth, living an ordinary life with his parents in Nazareth. These ‘hidden years’ reveal to us the fundamental value of our ordinary day-to-day lives. Every day is crucial, with such richness and potential which we need to consider seriously.
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    • Anna never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day! Imagine! We can’t all be quite as focussed as that, but we do all want to put God first in our lives. Really first!
    • The child Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him. By our baptism these things are true of each of us also.
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    • The life of Anna was hidden away in the temple. The life of Jesus as he grew from childhood to manhood was hidden for thirty years in an obscure village. In this hidden time, Jesus grows. He becomes strong, filled with wisdom and God’s favour.
    • Lord, let me value the hidden quality of prayer. “What each one is interiorly unknown to anyone else is of vital consequence to all.” Let me never doubt the value of ‘wasting time’ hidden with you before the Father.
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    • Anna, another of the Quiet in the Land, had lived to a great age. All we know of her is this moment of recognition and blessing. As Anna takes the baby in her arms and her eyes light up, how Mary must have warmed to her! The child grew…that last sentence summarises 90% of the life of Jesus, a hidden life as he grew strong and wise.
    • Lord, you are telling me that it is no harm to live quietly, and to allow time for your favour to be upon me.
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    • Think of the joy of Anna! For so many years she has lived faithfully in the Temple. She is a familiar sight, part of the furniture. She is a holy old woman, set in her ways. Then comes this moment of delight when she recognises that God is indeed present, and in human form. She tells everyone. May I too speak of God being born into our world today.
    • Mary must have pondered endlessly in her heart about her baby son. He is so ordinary: he eats, sleeps, plays, laughs and cries. He learns easily, he is a blessed child. But is the angel’s promise true, that this is in reality the Son of God? How can it be? And yet there are the crumbs of confirmation: Elizabeth’s blessing, the angels and the shepherds, the kings from the east, and now Simeon and Anna’s words. Mary is given enough to help her believe, and so are we.
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    • The Christmas season celebrates the birth of a child but the Gospels include many venerable figures like Simeon, Elizabeth, Zechariah and, today, Anna. These people remind me of the fullness of life and wisdom that enrich human experience. I pray that young and old alike may people may benefit from each other's company.
    • I imagine that I live near Joseph’s house and that he and Mary often invite me in. I love to be there, and to play with the child. When Jesus smiles at me, my heart melts.