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.”
- Luke 2:34-35
French playwright and filmmaker Jean Cocteau once observed, “The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking towards me, without hurrying.”
Perhaps death is the last thing you want to think about as you contemplate the Christmas story, and yet it might be the most important.
In the middle of blessing the “first family of Christmas,” Simeon shares a painful word with Mary.
Simeon tells Mary that she will experience pain in her soul as a result of this Child. And, of course, that is precisely what happened; as the Gospels record, she stood at the foot of the cross and saw her son crucified.
Michelangelo's famous sculpture The Pieta captures her brokenness, vividly depicting the battered body of Christ outstretched across her lap.
Simeon's painful sentence to Mary reminds us that Jesus' death was the mission of his birth. He was born to die.
That means that any real celebration of his birth somehow commemorates his death.
This Christmas, remember Jesus' birth. But also remember what task it gave birth to.
Reflection & Action:
If you have pain and difficulty in your own life this Christmas, remember that Christ came to secure something greater for you.
Pray about those things that pierce your soul. Praise King Jesus that those things will not have the final say— His birth, mission, and death undergird the restoration of all things.
Paper Sunday is blessed to collaborate with Chris Harper on this Advent Devotional Series.
Chris Harper is a speaker, writer, and disciple-maker. Chris is President of 252Edu, a consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas. Chris serves schools, churches, and non-profits by helping them "grow in wisdom, favor and stature with God and man.”
When not taking ground for King Jesus, you can find Chris on the basketball court playing a pick-up game. Chris is a sneakerhead, an avid reader, and loves a good cheeseburger. You can follow him @252consulting on Instagram.