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There was also present, Anna, (…) who was a prophetess. -Luke 2:36 (Phillips)

As we read the Christmas story, we see many familiar characters: the shepherds, angels, the wise men, and evil King Herod. However, Luke 2 mentions two elderly people who appear nowhere else in the Bible. When Jesus was eight days old, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Simeon, “an upright man, devoted to the service of God,” (v. 25) shocked Mary and Joseph by recognizing Jesus as the Messiah.

There was also an elderly prophetess there named Anna. Dr. Luke explains: “She was a very old woman, having had seven years’ married life and was now a widow of eighty-four. She spent her whole life in the Temple and worshipped God night and day with fastings and prayers. She came up at this very moment, praised God and spoke about Jesus to all those in Jerusalem who were expecting redemption.” (v. 36-38)

According to, Anna means “grace.” This was a fitting name, because God showed her grace to see the Messiah before she left this earth. Anna had lived most of her life as a widow, and the Bible mentions no children of hers. It seems she was alone in every perspective but God’s, for she lived in the temple. But Anna was no lonely, sour, bitter old person. She obviously lived with a sense of expectation and hope, and as soon as she saw the Baby Jesus, she expressed praise as if by a natural reflex.

What can we learn from Anna?

You’re never alone. Anna had lost her husband when she was young and no relatives are cited. However, she worshipped God day and night, and God saw and heard.

You’re never too old to serve God. Anna was 84 when God allowed her to be one of the first people to recognize infant Jesus as Savior, and God honored her and enshrined her name in Scripture for all time.

Misery is a choice. From the world’s perspective, Anna had lost much. However, she had a decades-long lifestyle of prayer and praise; she chose to be better, not bitter.

Give God what you have, instead of worrying about what you don’t have. Many people equate “serving God” with preaching, donating lots of money, or going overseas as a missionary. However, not everyone has those speaking, financial, or physical gifts. For some people, all they can do is pray, fast, worship, and cry out to God for all the evil and brokenness they see in our world.

The word for you from Anna’s example is: If you can’t preach, give, or go, you can sigh, cry, and pray.






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