Homeschooled by Homeschooling

Revisiting Anna
12/9/2017 10:04:00 PM by: Susan Lyttek

Recently, I was asked to prepare a Christmas devotional. I naturally turned to Anna, who I had spent two months with a couple of years ago. Learning more about her story, her ancestry and her role in recognizing the Messiah has become something that has touched me deeply. When God prepared to extravagantly lavish the world with the best gift He could think of, it made sure that Anna would be there to witness it. He made certain that she would see the miracle of His son.

Luke 36-38 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, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 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.(NIV)

It might surprise you that I believe Anna’s life presence with the baby Jesus was something amazing that only God could do. But I tell you that old woman’s presence in the temple was miraculous in and of itself. The fact that she recognized her savior in the form of a babe was simply the cherry on top.

When I studied Anna’s life, many things surprised me. I thought I was simply doing a Bible study that would weave Old Testament prophecies with Anna’s life. But I learned that God wanted me to find out a lot more about the woman—things that made her so memorable to Mary that Jesus’ mother felt it necessary to tell Luke about her.

  1. She was a widow for a long time and lived. Widows were the poorest of the poor, but God provided for her. She was somewhere between 84 and 105 when she held Jesus.
  1. She sought sanctuary in a construction zone. The temple of Herod was either barely completed or still not done when Jesus was born. Most of the time that Anna lived there, it was a work in progress.
  2. She was from the tribe of Asher. This detail amazed me more than any when I looked into it. Asher is one of the ten northern tribes—often called the lost tribes. Most of them were dispersed in the Assyrian captivity.  But Anna was in Jerusalem. In Judah. How? Not long before the total collapse of Israel, King Hezekiah sent invitations to all of the descendants of Israel to participate in the Passover. Anna’s family attended and that obedience preserved her ancestors. (2 Chr. 30:10-11)

There are just a few of the amazing details about how God preserved a woman, a woman who loved Him, to give her the first and best Christmas present.

And he wants to give all the world that same present.


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