A King is born.
With each passing year, my perspective on Christmas expands. As children we have a narrow, Americanized view of Christmas. Time with family, love received and extended, and a plethora of gifts under the tree. All good things, no doubt. This week leading up to Christmas, however, I am struck by the scenes in Luke's Gospel account of the birth of Christ.
In Luke 2, beyond the initial night of Christ's birth, we read about the infant Jesus being brought to the temple as was required by Jewish law. He was born under the law, but little did those around Him know, that in Him the law would be fulfilled. There was one man at the temple who knew though, a man who had been waiting for this day.
Luke 2:25-35, "Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
I think we can all see ourselves in Simeon's story. Peace enters the heart through the eyes of those who have seen salvation in Christ. All Simeon wanted was to see the Lord's Christ. He not only saw Him, but held Him, blessing and giving thanks to God. That is the only response when you have held grace and love, to bless and thank God.
Simeon says to Mary, "A sword will pierce through your own soul also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." As Simeon hands Jesus back to His mother, He gives her an indication of the sorrow she will endure as she watches her own Son's crucifixion, so that others may grab hold of the same hope that Simeon had just held.
Ultimately, this is the Christmas story. That the King left the glory of Heaven on a mission to rescue. Trading for His throne for a manger, a crown of glory for a crown of thorns. Our greatest gift cannot be found under the tree, He was nailed to a tree. My prayer for anyone who reads this during the Christmas season is that you would have your Simeon moment. That you would see Jesus clearly and that peace would enter your heart, that you hold on to grace and love, rejoicing and thanking God for sending His Son, Christ Jesus our King.
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