Anna was a Jewish prophetess of great age at the time that Mother Mary brought Jesus to the temple. It was the time of purification, about forty days after the birth. Anna is mentioned only in the book of Luke, though the regard of her age and devotion suggests that she was well respected and that rightly so.
Anna had been married seven years to a man named Tobit, before being widowed. She was 84 years old when she entered the temple and saw Jesus, whom she recognized by divine knowledge as the fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming Messiah.
Anna was a woman of impeccable character. Luke 2:36 expresses that she was a virgin at the time of her marriage. Though she would likely have been in her early twenties when she became a widow, she did not re-marry. Anna devoted herself to the service of the Lord.
She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, which means “happy.” Her name, “Anna” was the Greek version of Hannah.
Each day, Anna attended the morning and evening services of the temple. She was consecrated for the service of God by much fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37). When Anna saw Jesus, she immediately gave thanks. She testified of Him to all who sought redemption in Jerusalem. Her audience would have been great due to her status as a respected elder (woman of great age).
Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Imagine the blessing that Anna was to her community, standing in the gap for them continually. The Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “If my people who are called by name would humble themselves and pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, the He would heal their land. Imagine how much healing was going on because of Anna’s humility, prayer, and seeking the Lord.
Our devotion to God is a blessing not only in our own lives, but to others who witness our service. Anna was surely a source of counsel and a builder of faith among the body of believers. She would have been a well of testimonies from her lifetime of living according to God’s will. No doubt she could captivate an audience. But from Luke’s depiction of her devotion, it is certain that Anna would have given God praise for every victory and worshipped Him still in the valley. Think of how long she believed the prophecies before finally seeing the babe Jesus. Surely there had been people along the way who said that day would never come. Anna kept the faith. And when she saw the miracle for herself, she did not keep it to herself.
Anna was a virtuous woman whose price is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10).
McClintock, John and James Strong. “Cyclopædia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature” Vol 1 p.235.. < http://books.google.com/books?id=mQ0MAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=MCc… 27 Nov. 2012