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01/05/2017

THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

(Simeon said) "And a sword will pierce through your own
soul also ..." (Luke 2:35).          Read Luke 2:34-35.
 
If you have lost a loved one in death, then you know the
pain the following Christmas when you feel that person's
absence so keenly. But what if you had known the year
before that would be the last Christmas you would spend
with them?
 
After blessing God, Simeon turns to Mary and says
something strange. She will see the nation of Israel reject
its Messiah and speak against the One God has sent to
them. This is something Mary has never heard before,
and probably never imagined would happen.
 
The angels only spoke of God's gift of salvation to all
people, of His love for the whole world in sending His Son.
But Simeon warns that when He is grown and begins His
ministry, there will be Jews who reject the salvation He
came to bring.
 
But Simeon tells her it will get worse. She will feel as if a
great broadsword is piercing her own soul. This is the
connection between our Advent devotions coming to a
close and our Lenten devotions beginning March 1. Mary,
the virgin mother who laid her Child in the manger, will
watch that same Son get nailed to a cross.
 
In all the Christmas memories Mary stored in her heart,
this may be the first cloud that appeared over her thoughts.
She will not only remember the moment when Simeon
prophesied it, but she will stand beneath the cross of her
beloved Son Jesus Christ. But the cloud will quickly pass
three days after His death, when her mighty Son rises to
life again -- victorious through all eternity.
 
THE PRAYER:
 
Heavenly Father, You loved us so much You sent Your
Son to die in our place on the cross. Thank You for saving
us through faith in Him. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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