The Widow in the Christmas Story

Amidst the familiar Christmas story in Luke 2 is Anna, a prophetess.  Do you know her story?

In Luke 2 we learn that she was 84 years old.  Let’s say she was a typical girl and got married at 14.  Her husband died after 7 years making her a widow at 21 and in the story we learn she was 84.  Thus she lived 63 years as a widow at the time of Jesus’ birth.

In biblical times widows were very vulnerable.  They were excluded from inheritance laws so their concerns would be for their basic day to day existence.  Lacking the protection of a husband they were put in the same category as orphans, the poor, and aliens in the bible.

Anna was a woman of faith in spite of living 63 years in very challenging sociological and cultural circumstances.  She prayed and fasted and worshiped day and night in the temple.  I was thinking that we have been living with COVID for 9+ months and we are all facing challenges in some way.  But 63 years as a widow in biblical times?  I’m not sure I would be worshiping daily.  

In Hebrew the word for widow carries the meaning of one who is silent.  A person with no voice in society, who no one hears.

But in this story when she meets the baby Jesus she becomes God’s spokes person.  In Luke 2: 38-40 Luke writes that: “she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel.”  God used this woman of low stature, but who had great faith, to tell others about his son’s entrance into the world.

Whatever you are facing this year I hope this story of Anna will encourage you.  And I hope Anna’s story will encourage us all to have stronger faith and boldness to be powerful spokesmen for God.  Amen and Merry Christmas!

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