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.[e] 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.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Getting older is not easy. Retirement is a challenge. Age can embitter us or soften us. We can dwell on memories or continue to hope for more. We withdraw or engage. We have choices.
Anna was a widow of 84. But she didn’t stop worshipping with God’s people, and she didn’t give up on prayer in her private life. She was known for her thankful heart. Ready and willing for any divine appointment, Anna prayed and prophesied over the child Jesus as he was presented in the Temple.
And the child Jesus grew and became strong. He was full of Wisdom and Grace. Wisdom is the ability to discern truth coupled with an optimum judgement as to what actions should be taken. Grace, or the better translation ‘stature’, is maturity in age and behaviour. It is an attractive quality of graciousness, patience and gentleness.
So what about us? Don’t give up meeting together and encouraging one another. And don’t give up on praying. You never know when God will turn up in power. Be ready for divine appointments. And let us grow up! Children have tantrums, have limited perspectives and understanding. We are called to maturity, patience and love.