Lynda shares a reflection for Candlemas…
On Wednesday, 2nd February, the Church celebrates the feast of Candlemas, for some, the real end of the Christmas season. It is a time to remember the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, as required by Jewish Law.
Simeon and Anna greeted Mary and Joseph, and prophetically announced the arrival of the Messiah, in the unlikely form of this small baby. As we wait for His coming again, this is particularly an encouragement to the older readers of this blog as you continue in prayer and joyful expectation!
Who was Anna? We find her in Luke 2 v. 36, and we are told that she had lived with her husband for seven years. As most girls at that time married at around 14 years old, she was probably a widow at 21. Luke tells us that she was 84 years old so that would mean she had served in the temple for about 63 years, with fasting and prayer, night and day, demonstrating remarkable spiritual and physical strength.
We are also told that she was from the tribe of Asher. Before he died, Moses bestowed this blessing on Asher:
“Asher is most blessed of sons … let him dip his foot in oil … As your days, so your strength will be” (Deuteronomy 33 v.24-25)
This was the blessing for Asher from Jacob, his father:
“Bread from Asher shall be rich, and he shall provide royal delicacies” (Genesis 49 v.2 0)
The “foot dipped in oil” represents a life bathed in communion with God, and Anna is blessed with strength. The “bread” of Jacob’s blessing is the word – Anna recognised Jesus as the promised Messiah, long awaited by all Israel, and she “spoke of the child to all who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem”.
Lives spent in prayer, longing for God, bear fruit in old age, with strength and hope and ability to recognise God. The land allocated to the tribe of Asher included Mount Carmel, where the great defeat of God’s enemies took place, Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18 v. 20-40). God gives the land, bestows His blessings, and defeats His enemies, using His people who pray and long for His coming.
Anna – Waiting
Amongst shadows and flickering lights
Corners of the Temple, all known to you.
Waiting and hoping
God’s Holy Scriptures your promise
Longing and looking – how will He come?
Will it be today?
Will the hope of all Israel appear today?
Leaping from Heaven, Light of all lights?
Precious little bundle
Quietly carried into God’s house
Your prophet’s tongue bursts into praise!
Rewarded by seeing
The One you have longed for
Declaring through all time, the Saviour is here!