Christmas Devotional

Anna: Seeing Salvation

Anna: Seeing Salvation

Monday, Dec. 30

Scripture: Luke 2:36-38

Luke says that Anna was a prophet (contrary to what you may read in some translations, the Greek is indeed “prophet,” not “prophetess”). We usually think of Old Testament prophets as people who predicted future events. They did occasionally do this. But more often than that, the prophets spoke God’s word to the present. And that’s what we see Anna doing in Luke 2:38 when she speaks to the people about the Christ child.

Most English versions of the Bible call her Anna, but in the original language her name is actually Hannah.

Hannah is also the name of the mother of the prophet Samuel. The story of how she came to be Samuel’s mother has some similarities with the story of Mary the mother of Jesus. In particular, Hannah’s song of joy (1 Samuel 2:1-8) bears a strong resemblance to Mary’s song, which we call the Magnificat, in Luke 1:46-55. Both songs speak of how God lifts up the lowly and brings down the proud.

Isn’t it interesting how these echoes of Hannah’s story from the Old Testament bookend the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke? We have Mary singing in the style of Hannah before her son’s birth. And after his birth a woman named Hannah appears, one who prays at the temple, like Samuel’s mother did (1 Samuel 1:11).

Both of the Hannahs and Mary speak about God’s mighty intervention. Like other prophets, their words unveil what God is up to in the present tense. God is raising up from the dust those who have been beaten down. God is putting the arrogant in their place. God is flooding the world with mercy and grace.

Where? We can’t always see. So God sends prophets to give us sight.

Prayer: O God, may we listen to all of your prophets so that we might see your salvation in our midst. Amen.

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