Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 22:29-32
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 22:33-35
Is there a right way to celebrate Christmas?…..absolutely. With the same joy and wonder that the angels felt when they touched down to announce His birth. And also with a bit of the somber forboding that Mary and Joseph must have had when Simeon gave his prophetic words in the temple.
It is impossible to see the babe in the manger, the sparkling lights on the tree, the manger scene lovingly arranged on the shelf, without also looking ahead to the death, burial and resurrection to come. That is the great paradox of our faith. We see the joy, but we also can’t help seeing the sorrow. Though our world is still filled with the same problems as when He came, His coming gives the answer to them all. That is our great hope!
“Lord, to honor Your birth may I humbly remember what it cost to redeem me, and may I seek to glorify You with my life, my decisions, my words, so that others may clearly see Your light.” Amen
Images from “Jesus of Nazareth” directed by Franco Zefferelli