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The Testimony of Anna

December 30, Thursday, Octave of Christmas
Daily Readings: 1 John 2:12-17 & Luke 2: 36 – 40

She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child.

In the Gospel of Luke, we find a unique presentation. Luke is fond of pairing male and female figures in his narrative. For example, the role of Simeon and Anna in the temple at the end of the birth narrative balances the role of Zechariah and Elizabeth at the beginning of the narrative. In the Gospel, the blessing of Anna, though not recorded, is characterized as praising God and speaking about the child. Since this description corresponds to the content of Simeon's oracles, we can probably say that Anna's prophecy matched his words, which we call the canticle of Simeon.

Similarly, the reference to "all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem" serves as an inclusion, balancing the description of Simeon as one who was "looking forward to the consolation of Israel" at the beginning of this passage.

Simeon and Anna, though different in character and disposition, represent the pious ones, who declare that Jesus is the one who will bring salvation for Israel, but not all would receive this salvation. Jesus Himself would be rejected, and many in Israel would reject the Gospel, but it was also meant for "a light for revelation to the Gentiles."

Anna, the elderly and pious widow, is like the man who stumbles upon a treasure in a field. By God's providence, she is in the Temple when the old man Simeon took the Child Jesus in his arms and spoke of Him as "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel (Luke 2: 32)." The moment she recognizes the Child, Anna also gives thanks to God and speaks about the Child to all who are awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

We see here again that faith is indeed a gift of God and that those who receive the gift of recognizing the Saviour must proclaim Him to others out of gratitude. Besides, Anna's example tells us that no one is too old to be a witness to Jesus. She seems so handicapped: a woman, an elderly person, and a widow. And yet she gives witness to Jesus.

Anna puts to shame many able-bodied Christians who dare not speak of Jesus to others.

Let us accept the revelation that Jesus makes in our lives and show it through our deeds and actions.

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