The On Ramp to Christmas… a concluding thought

by DanWolgemuth on December 20, 2019

Hanging on a wall in our hallway, under glass, are memorable invitations/announcements that have happened in our family over the years. A wedding in Michigan in 1978. The birth of a son in 1981, another in 1983, and a daughter in 1986. Then weddings in 2003, 2006, and 2008.

Invitations to hope. Announcements of joy.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, delivered her birth announcement personally. With two young pigeons as a sacrifice and a telling reminder of the austere environment in which the parents of Jesus lived.

Then, Simeon. A single scene. The fulfillment of a dream. Then… words that rocked a mother and father, and later the world.

While most new parents are expecting words of celebration, joy, encouragement and promise, (just check out your local Hallmark store), Simeon delivers something far different.

A prophetic word. No pandering or patronizing… Simeon reads from the script of God.

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, ESV)

Mary and Joseph had a lifetime full of thoughts to ponder before Simeon ever opened his mouth… but then, the dagger. “Fall and rise”. “Opposed”.

A miraculous conception, now accompanied with a resume of grief. The fragile child in Mary’s arms would cut hearts to the core. He would redeem, rescue, and yes, reveal.

We love to sing, “Born is the King of Israel…” but before He was crowned He was crushed. Before the coronation, the conviction. Before the throne at His Father’s side, a cell, a cross, a cruel and unjust death.

And in the Temple, newly minted parents were confronted with the news that this journey with Jesus would have pain as a companion. A pierced soul.

Then, on the heels of pain, Anna. A prophetess. An 84-year-old widow who had been more expectant than Mary… fasting, praying… waiting. For Jesus.

And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)

Anna poured the salve of encouragement and hope on the fractured souls that stood in front of her.

Against the cruel reality of a broken world, words of life and hope and thanksgiving.

From Simeon and Anna. Words of death and life. Words of pain and hope.

Mary and Joseph. Stewards of the cosmic treasure of God. Stewards of the pain. Stewards of the hope. Faithful, courageous, loving stewards. Stewards of a message that Jesus would articulate thirty years later.

“…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Hope out of tribulation. In the Temple to Mary and Joseph… and today.

The on-ramp to Christmas is littered with real life. Don’t miss the profound beauty of the story. From the stable to the throne.

The baby. The cross. The King of Kings.

But take heart… He has overcome the world.
Merry Christmas.

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