Folk singer Joni Mitchell delivered a profound piece of philosophy in a song she recorded in 1970: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” She was lamenting urban sprawl and pesticides, but you could say the same thing about family life.
It’s so easy to grumble and complain about changing diapers on your babies, but then they grow so fast that soon they don’t want to be held and kissed anymore. You wish you wouldn’t always have to hire a sitter when you want to leave the house, and all of a sudden they’re moody teenagers who don’t seem to need you anymore. Your husband can be so irritating and hard to motivate . . . and then all of a sudden you’re a widow.
Anna “was a widow until she was eighty-four. . . . She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child [the baby Jesus] to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:37,38). Anna could have stayed home all the time with the windows closed, feeling sorry for herself, marinating in bitterness of spirit. Instead she spent her time with God and with people. She was in the right place at the right time when Mary and Joseph entered the temple with their precious baby Jesus.
Anna not only got a chance to see her Savior up close; she shared her faith with anyone who would listen. Alone again? Go where the people are.