Simeon’s final word for Mary was shattering. He told her that Jesus Christ would ignite a world of opposition. In that opposition to God’s Savior, to God’s plan, would come suffering. Suffering would especially strike Mary, this child’s natural mother, as she would indeed watch the world persecute, reject and murder her son. But out of suffering comes redemption, restoration and celebration. From the cross comes forgiveness of sins. From the grave comes eternal life. From the resurrection comes God’s acceptance.
Those who follow Christ suffer.
This Christmas, as we consider the baby Jesus, we should remember that his birth was only the beginning of a life, a path that led straight to the cross, to a gruesome death, a burial and resurrection. In that little life, born in that humble birthplace into that poor family, was contained the salvation of the whole world. Yet, as we see today, the world hates Christ. God’s plan has no room for sin. A holy God must judge sin and remove it from his presence. This is a terrifying thought, but one which the world ignores or rejects. In Christ, God makes a way for sin to be removed and righteousness credited to all who believe and trust in Christ as Savior. Only sinners who cling to Christ, who rest on his finished work can have the record of their sin, their rebellion against God, dismissed.
As we celebrate Christmas, we need to remember that the cradle was only a first step to the cross. As Simeon, blessed by the spirit of God, pointed out, in that child is embodied our “Yeshua,” our salvation!
May the greatest gift to you be the gift that Simeon received, the fulfillment of the promise of God.