A reflection on Luke 2.36-38:
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with the husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At 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.
Preaching this morning, I asked “As we wait for the day when we will see God face to face, where do we catch glimpses of God in the here-and-now? In what and in whom?” Anna, spending her whole life in the temple, must have caught a fair few glimpses of God: in the worship happening there, in the people who came to offer sacrifices and to pray.
But something made this different. Something made this family, this child, stand out from the crowd. Something made Anna see that here was not just a glimpse of God, but God himself, face-to-face, in the face of a tiny child. I wonder what that something was. No wonder she wanted to tell everyone what she had seen – the hope of the nations, the light of the world, right there in front of her.
As we look for our own glimpses of God, I wonder how we recognise God in our midst? In places or people? In worship? In the faces of those we meet? What is it that makes us want to praise God and tell everyone what we have seen?