At Christmas time many enjoy the festivities of shopping, going to church programs, and Christmas Eve services. The focus is on the joy of Christmas and songs are sung such as Silent Night and Away in the Manger and we think of the baby Jesus. Babies do not force us to deal with harsh realities. They pose no threat to us. When a woman has a baby, there is a special glow of love between mother and infant. Family and friends rejoice with the new mother. It is supposed to be a time of joy, but for Mary while in the midst of her joy of being with her new born child, a strong message showed the purpose of Jesus coming as a baby and what it would mean to her someday.
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple when he was 8 days old to present Him to God. Ok I have to consider the irony of that- they took Jesus, God the Son who came to earth, to the Temple to present Him to God. Anyway, Mary and Joseph faithfully followed what they were supposed to do as Jewish parents of a new born son. They took Jesus to be circumcised. While at the temple, an old man named Simeon held Jesus in his arms. Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s salvation. When Simeon saw Jesus, he knew Jesus was the promised one from God. Simeon then had a message for Mary. He spoke about how Jesus would cause many in Israel to rise and fall. Jesus would be a light for all peoples. In other words- Jesus came to be our Savior. Then Simeon said something that a young mother of a newborn does not expect to hear. He said, “and a sword will pierce your soul too” in reference to the sorrow Mary would feel when Jesus died on the cross.
When we remember the baby Jesus, it seems a safe thing to do. We focus on a baby bringing great joy. Mary’s baby, however, grew to be a man. He was not just a man, but the Son of God. He would grow and do miracles to show His glory. He would grow and one day die on the cross for us and defeat death for us. A baby does not force us to be accountable to anything. Jesus was no ordinary baby. He is God the Son who left heaven to come to earth to die for us. Mary got that message about the suffering of Jesus when no one would expect such a message, when Jesus was only 8 days old. However, that message shows why we have Christmas.