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December 21, 2020 Advent Reflection

Luke 2:33 - 35

"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 2 33-35)

I love the warm, light-filled passages in the Christmas story - angels, glory, promise, heaven coming to earth. If I'm honest, I tend to skip over the foreshadowing and difficulties of what's to come for the people we meet for the first time in this story - Mary, Joseph, Jesus.

Heaven coming to earth is a collision. Sometimes it's a peaceful overcoming, and sometimes it crackles with energy as opposition is overcome and mountains move.

We don't know what Simeon saw prophetically or how far he saw - we do know the next chapters of this story and that he saw some of the difficulties ahead - whether the immediate opposition from Herod, the horror of infant executions and fleeing to Egypt - or a couple decades later, the betrayal of Jesus by his friend, his suffering and death in front of his own mother - or perhaps the family tensions between those times with Jesus' mother and brothers as Jesus stepped fully into who He is.

Simeon's choice to bless Mary and Joseph in this moment is a beautiful one - and with that blessing the accompanying truth that this isn't going to be easy, that the prophecies of everything Jesus would be would come at a tangible cost - as a new Kingdom turned the current one upside down, and as Mary in particular knows a cost personally as her son moved into a larger purpose as the Son of God.

Blessings aren't always free and easy. What God is calling us to often comes at a cost - well ahead of Jesus' words later in Luke 14:33 that "those who do not give up everything cannot be my disciples" - Joseph and Mary truly gave up everything for the coming Kingdom.

Our God is good. His grace, glory, and especially love know no end. And as part of his character he calls us to greater callings than we can ask or imagine - and costs are part of the call. How we step into that, and how we choose to bless others is important.

"God, thank you for the example of Mary and Joseph, and Simeon's blessing - first of your goodness, then a sense of the incredible change that was to come, and of the knowledge of the individual cost that would come. Teach and guide our hearts today as we step into your calling for us, and as we learn to bless others in goodness and truth and hope. Your kingdom come, Lord Jesus!"

Shared by Dave Small


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