“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who awaited the redemption of Jerusalem (λύτρωσιν Ἰερουσαλήμ).” (Lk 2: 36-38)
So the prophetess Anna, a woman, came to the temple and “in that instant,” with no prompting or blessing from any human being, gave thanks to the Lord, and, what is more shocking still, “spoke.” She spoke “of Him” to all those willing to listen, to all those who “awaited the redemption,” who awaited “deliverance,” “release,” or “liberation” of Jerusalem. From what?
One may have thought, from the political power of the Romans. But we know better, in hindsight, that this was not the “redemption” that our Redeemer brought. He did not, in fact, bring me any particular brand of politics. The “release” that Christ brings me is from the bondage of “self.” He brings me a new focus – His light, His Person, and the power of His grace, to which I can hand over my preoccupations and burdens, taking up His “burden” instead, a burden that is “light.” (Mt 11:30) No longer do I need to chase around in circles, inside of me, various issues and problems, on my own.
Let me be liberated today, in my Redeemer, letting Him into my schedule, in prayer and contemplation of His word, in the freedom of His Spirit. Let me let Him release me through His gifts of humility, meekness, love, and service, which take me out of myself and allow me both to listen and to speak “of Him” and “in Him.” For His is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, today and forever.