Anna – An Imagined Interview following Luke 2:36-38
By: Ruth Walker
Q: Who are you, Anna?
I am an elderly widow, now over 80 but I don’t like to remember my age!
I was married as teenager but widowed after 7 short years of marriage. The trouble with being a
widow is that no-one really wants to know you unless you find another husband or can be absorbed
into the family. I have found the best and safest place to be is in the temple, out people’s way. The
more time I have spent in the temple, the closer I have got to God. In fact, I hardly leave the temple.
For the Reader: Looking at your situation, how can you best make time to know God?
Q: What was your family like?
My name is Anna of Asher, daughter of Phanuel. I am proud to be part of the Asher tribe. There are not
many of us here in Israel since the Assyrians took us into exile hundreds of years ago. Asher was the
8th son of Jacob and his name means blessed. And as a tribe we were indeed blessed. We made
amazing olive oil and the trade made us prosperous. What’s more, all women from the tribe of Asher
have a reputation for being beautiful (you may not believe it now, but I was once beautiful). All that is
long in the past and we now have very little profile.
When I was born, my father called me Anna which means “gracious” and “compassionate”. I have tried
to live up to my name, even when people don’t show me grace and compassion, but laugh at me as this
odd old lady.
My father was a godly man. He was aptly named Phanuel which means “the face of God”. Through him
I got glimpses of the mighty and gracious God. His example has helped me learn to discern the voice of
For the Reader: How might your family know God more through your example?
Q How did you recognise Jesus the Saviour, Anna?
That was an amazing day. As I was praying in the temple, I saw old Simeon head over to this young
couple to pray for them. At that moment my spirit seemed to be filled with joy, and it was as if God
said to me “you will get to see the face of God today”. As I looked at the baby I saw at once that this
was the Saviour, this was the one I was longing for. God had kept his promise to his people.
For the Reader: What spiritual practices could you develop to hear the voice of God?
Q: What did you actually say about Jesus, Anna?
I can’t remember my exact words! My heart was bursting with joy. I am sure the words came out all
the wrong way. But I think I said, “this is the one who has been promised by God; this is the Messiah
who will save us, who will set us free from oppression.”
When I found out that he is called Jesus, the one who would save us, I looked out for those people I
had talked to, prayed with over the years and said – “he is here! The one who was promised.” In fact, I
sang with joy as I just bubbled over with the good news.
Of course, not everyone believed me…. but many did.
For the Reader: Who can you encourage by sharing with them your discoveries about God, and his big
story of redemption?