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)
Mary loved her baby, so she must have been chilled to hear Simeon predict Jesus' future, even in the most general terms. "A sword will pierce through your own soul also"—that is not exactly what you want to hear about your baby's future!
I imagine Mary felt the first stab of that sword long before Jesus ever grew up. She probably felt it whenever Isaiah 53 was read in the synagogue—whenever Jesus said or did something that her mother's heart told her was going to lead to conflict with the corrupt authorities someday—whenever she cooked the sacrificed lamb at Passover every year. Did she realize it was a symbol of her Son's coming death?
I think it must be easier for us who live on this side of Jesus' death and resurrection. We can look at the tiny baby lying in the manger at the same time we remember His sacrificial death on the cross—and His glorious resurrection. Looking back, we can see that it was worth it—that Jesus' suffering and dying gave us new life—that His resurrection means that evil loses in the end. We know the happy ending. We know that Jesus is with us forever, and we will never lose Him. It is all worth it.
Mary had to take the future on faith, trusting that God would guide their family to the final goal He had planned for them. We have to do this, too, about our own lives. Our future is largely unknown. But we have the added blessing of knowing exactly Who has our lives in His hands—our Savior, Jesus—and we know that He will never let us down. How could He? He has already given everything He had to make us His own.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to trust You when the future is frightening and unknown. Amen.
* What good things do you think will happen in the future?
* What troubling things do you worry about that might happen in the future?
* When you are afraid and worried, how do you seek help from God?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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