Anna (Advent Book Club 3 Jan)

(I’m taking part in the Twitter #adventbookclub, which extends from Advent through Christmas and into Epiphany. We are reading “Beginnings and Endings” by Maggi Dawn. My reflections on these will sometimes be put in a blog post.)

Today we return to the story of Simeon, and also introduce Anna (Luke 2:34-38), and it was Anna’s story that particularly struck me:

“she … began to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

My first thought, though, was one of those difficult questions: how did Anna know? Did she go up to people and ask, “are you looking for the redemption of Jerusalem? Them let me tell you about Jesus.” Or could she spot them? Was there a secret handshake? Or was it something that simply emerged from general conersation?

Anna had spent quite a lot of her life in the Temple. It’s not clear from the text, but I like to think that when she “began to speak about the child” it was outside the Temple, to the people she knew or the people she met. So I think that the last answer to my question is probably the right one: in talking to people, getting to know them, finding out their hopes and dreams, Anna was able to tell them about Jesus, in ways that would bring them comfort.

If this is true, then Anna is a model for how we witness to Jesus – not forcing the story on anyone, but being with them, sharing their journey, and being ready and able to share our message and our hope.

And one other thing: it is easy for Christians to spend a lot of our lives inside our churches, and think this is all we need to do in God’s service. Anna’s response to an encounter with Jesus was to get out of the Temple and into her community.

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