There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Luke 2:36-40 (NIV)
For those of us who are past the half century mark, it is a great joy to read about Anna, the prophetess, who was very old! The word â€˜retirementâ€™ is not a God-word. God does not offer retirement here on earth. We do kingdom work until the day we leave here. As a hospice nurse I can tell you that I witnessed many patients who were considered to be actively dyingâ€¦and they were doing great kingdom work of reconciliation and comfort in their families.
Anna had only had seven years of marriage and then lived as a widow. That was not an easy life in her day. Women were not allowed the independence and opportunities in that single state. If she did not have a male relative willing to provide for her, she would have to live off the charity, literally the â€˜leavingsâ€™ of her community. Read the book of Ruth for an example.
Anna was an intercessor, a prayer warrior. I am an intercessor and a prayer warrior but I have not spent 24 hours in a church in prayer much less weeks, months, or years! Anna was a desperate woman. She was desperate for GOD! She may have been fasting and praying for her people. I suspect that was the focus. She was crying out to God to send the Messiah. God blessed her for her heart and showed the old woman THE MESSIAH. WOW! No surprise that her heart went right to thanksgiving and witnessing! She sought God. He answered. She had to tell everyone that the Redeemer had come just as God had promised!
I do not think that it was necessary for a sin offering and a burnt offering to be done in response to the birth of the Son of God. Mary and Joseph were obedient to Godâ€™s commands. They did not analyze or question or put their interpretation on what they knew to be Godâ€™s commands. They just obeyed and what was Godâ€™s responseâ€¦He gave His grace and wisdom to this child who was growing into the Man who would save the world.