Faith Daily | 30 December 2020
PRAYER of the Week| APBA p.476
you have shed upon us
the light of your incarnate Word:
may this light, kindled in our hearts,
shine forth in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 2: 36-40
36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Graham
Today’s passage follows closely upon the passage from yesterday containing Simeon’s assuring words. While we do not have recorded what Anna may have said, we can be assured that her words would have had a similar effect on her audience as did Simeon’s. The presence of Anna is important in that it gives equal respect to the presence of both women and men in Luke’s recording of such a significant event in the history of humanity. One theologian has stated, “Luke expresses by this arrangement that man and woman stand together and side and side before God. They are equal in honour and grace. they are endowed with the same gifts and have the same responsibilities.”
What also cannot be ignored here is the meaning of the name Anna, that is “grace” or “favour”. Was this a mere coincidence? I think not. Rather her faith, and that of Simeon, were now rewarded with this revelation of God in human form. And while we have in faith celebrated that birth, can we be constant in faith as they were, particularly in times of stress and crisis?
The second part of the passage brings us back to the Holy Family having fulfilled what was required of them. We know very little of the detail of Jesus’ growth until his ministry unfolds, but we can be assured from Luke’s statement that there would have been nothing to question the revealing within him of his purpose among God’s people. While we still celebrate the birth of Jesus, one who grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and in the favour of God, may we be resolved to help those around us to do as much of the same as is humanly possible with God’s help and in God’s love.
FINAL PRAYER: David Adam
Lord, as you called Anna to witness,
open our ears to your calling,
open our eyes to your presence,
open our hearts to your love,
that we may hear you, and hearing you may love you,
and loving you may serve you,
whom to serve is perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ, the lamb of God.