Tuesday within the Octave of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord
Scripture: St. Luke 2:33-40 (NKJV)
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Christmas is a time for celebrating the peace and joy that God brings to mankind in Jesus Christ, but the Son of God also brought division and suffering to some. As Simeon foretold, He would bring division among the Jews. The faithfulness or faithlessness of their hearts would be revealed as they were confronted with the reality of Jesus being the promised Savior of Israel. He would become “a sign which will be spoken against.” This was especially true as He was raised up on the cross. The unbelievers mocked Him and showed their contempt for God’s revelation, while others would recognize that this man truly was the Son of God. The sign of the cross continues to have the same effect on people to this day.
The peace and joy of Christmas changes the world, but not in the ways that some people expect. It is a small thing for people to be filled with sentiments of kindness and goodwill towards each other for a season. False peace can be used to disguise evil intentions for later attacks. And good will can be done in a spirit of pride and self-glorification. But faith in Christ Jesus is the work of God’s Holy Spirit. In Him we are assured of peace and joy that goes beyond the ups and downs of present things to the true life of the world to come!
We pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held in the old bondage under the yoke of sin; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.