I had a thought just yesterday – something I’d never noticed before. I was reading about Liz Curtis Higgs’ book “The Women of Christmas” and it hit me. She’s written the book about Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), Mary (Jesus’ mother), and Anna (the prophetess who saw Jesus after He was born).
Last year, I wrote about Anna, and said I wasn’t sure whether she was eighty-four or a hundred and five years old (it depends on the translation you look at).
So, we have Anna (who’s over eighty), Mary (a young girl from Nazareth, possibly twelve to fourteen years old), and Elizabeth (past childbearing age but sprightly enough to bring up John the Baptist, so maybe in her fifties or sixties). Three generations: Young Mary, Elizabeth in the middle, and the elderly widow Anna. Isn’t that how the body of Christ should be – people of all ages, all races, all backgrounds, each playing their part in the kingdom? Mary wasn’t too young and Anna wasn’t too old. After all, God is timeless/eternal, and one day we’ll be like Him. When we ask God for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, let’s not be surprised when it brings generations together to give Him glory.
I’m thankful that Mary, Elizabeth and Anna were each willing to play their part.
I’ve just been reading about Anna – someone who saw Jesus when He was a baby. There are just three verses in the Bible devoted to her, and here’s what I saw in them.
Let’s think about the Jews for a minute. They’re waiting for their Messiah (literally God’s anointed One) to be a Deliverer for them. So, if you’d been waiting all your life for this Messiah, praying to God and going without food sometimes – if waiting for Him was the purpose of your life, when you actually got to see Him, wouldn’t that just be the pinnacle of everything you’d hoped for and dreamed of – the very best moment of your life, the one all those other moments had been leading to? Not surprising that Anna thanked God and spoke about Jesus (Luke 2:38).
But here’s the thing about Anna: She was very old. I’m not really sure how old she was. The translation I read says she had been married for seven years and then was a widow for eighty-four (Luke 2:36-37). People married young in those days, so if she married at fourteen, that would put her at a hundred and five. Another translation says she was a widow until she was eighty-four (Luke 2:37).
Whether she was eighty-four or a hundred and five doesn’t really matter. The point is, she saw the baby Jesus when she was very old. The pinnacle of her ministry, the very best part, came when she was over eighty – perhaps over a hundred! Wow! It’s never too late to serve God, and don’t be surprised if the best part is yet to come.
My friend Becky has also written a post about Anna this month, if you’d like to read it.