36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. — Luke 2:36-38 NIV
What faithfulness and perserverance was shown by Anna. We don’t know how many years she was at the temple, but if she married at the normal age for that time, it could have been sixty years or more. She “worshipped night and day, fasting and praying”. Anna had given up everything to fast, pray and worship God Her faithfulness led to her being allowed to speak to the parents and others telling them that Jesus was the long awaited Redeemer of Israel. It also led to her being one of the first few people to see Jesus and to her becoming one of the characters in the story of the greatest birth ever recorded. What a reward for her faithfulness. These three verses are probably the least known of the verses in the story in Luke, yet, they announce the fulfillment of the prophecy that a Redeemer would come to Israel and His name would be Emmanuel. Anna’s words became part of the basis for one of the most well-known Advent carols ever written. This short passage is a great encouragement for us to remain faithful to God through the good times and the bad times. God is always faithful and He always rewards faithfulness.
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” — Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV
Let us use these two passages of scripture to remind us to be faithful throughout the year, through the good times and the rough times. In the fullness of time, our Redeemer will come again to ransom us and our reward will be an eternity spent with Him.