Anna the Prophetess And the Hope of All Israel

Anna the Prophetess And the Hope of All Israel

by Doug Ward

“Traditional Christian nativity scenes give a convenient visual summary of people and events connected with the birth of Jesus. They generally include Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus, with a manger and animals, often accompanied by shepherds, angels, and magi.

As with any shorthand representation of reality, a nativity scene sacrifices some precision and detail for the sake of simplicity. Nativity scenes that include both shepherds and magi collapse together two separate events, since the magi probably arrived in Bethlehem some months after the shepherds. A more accurate portrayal would require two separate scenes, one at a manger and another at the house visited by the magi (Matt. 2:11).

In between the two Bethlehem snapshots we could insert a third scene, at the temple complex in Jerusalem. About six weeks after the birth of Jesus, his family traveled from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to present the offerings prescribed in Lev. 12 (Luke 2:22-24). In this scene Jesus and his parents are joined by Simeon, an old man who blesses God for the coming of the Messiah and prophesies about the implications of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:25-35); and by Anna, an elderly widow who also rejoices in the birth of the Messiah.

Although this third scene is sometimes overlooked—it is not included in the movie The Nativity Story, for example—it has much to teach us. From the fact that Joseph and Mary made the trip to Jerusalem, we learn that they were observant Jews, careful to carry out the requirements of the Torah…”

(this article is an excerpt from the July–August 2011 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 5, click this link:

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