The bible has many female prophets who speak for God in the old and new testament. Anna, the prophetess joins us in Luke 2 when Mary and Joseph take their new forty day old circumcised newborn named Jesus (the name given by the angel before he was conceived) to the temple in Jerusalem for purification and to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law. They bring a holy offering, a pair of doves or two young pigeons as prescribed in God’s Law. The offering of birds instead of a lamb notes their poverty.
Although Jesus is God, his parents still follow the rules and make their offering. God doesn’t give himself a free pass as many in authority do.
Anna the prophetess was a very old woman, married only seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers.
Anna seems content to be a widow and subject to the generosity of the Temple community. This is interesting since scriptures usually encourage us to pity widows, orphans and spinster dependents. Anna’s implied joy is an inspiration making me wonder about the rest of her story. Was she a victim of violence? Abused as a child? Is her life in the temple much easier and blessed than her childhood and years of marriage?
Luke describes her as a prophet. Anna was given the honor of speaking for God which gave her respect and authority despite her gender. She had a close personal relationship with GOD.
Anna showed up at the temple, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. Anna was a voice of hope, pointing to the gift of Christmas – Jesus!
Thank you Lord for coming to us, following the rules and calling women like Anna to be your voice in the darkness. Bring us your peace. Amen