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December 24 – Elderly Anna’s urban witness

“And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” – Luke 2:38 

Scripture reading: Luke 2:36-38

They would have called her “Hannah.” Her Hebrew name meant “grace.” By God’s grace, elderly Hannah was a pious believer. She was among a remnant saved from the tribe of Asher. The so-called “lost tribes” were not completely lost, even though most Jews from the ten tribes probably never returned from captivity in Assyria.

Hannah was an elderly widow. Some commentators have thought that she was a widow for 84 years. It is more probable that she was 84 years old. She had outlived most of her contemporaries. She never remarried. As a widow she was dependent and needy. This aged widow devoted herself to God and the worship of Him. Day and night she worshipped in the Temple. When the gates were open, she was there. She fasted and prayed for the covenant people and for the coming of the kingdom of God.

In the providence of God, Hannah encountered the newborn Saviour. Joseph and Mary came to carry out the sacrifices connected with redeeming a firstborn child. The aged Simeon had just publicly celebrated the arrival of the promised Saviour.

Hannah’s response to meeting the baby Jesus was twofold. First, she gave thanks to God. Second, she was an urban witness. She witnessed about the birth of the king “to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Electrified by the discovery of the promised Messiah, Hannah went around the city, sharing the good news. Elderly saints don’t retire from celebrating the birth of the king.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would continue to be a witness to the Saviour even in old age. Pray that God would give you the joy and courage to witness about the birth of the king to your neighbours who live in darkness.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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