This Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against. — Luke 2:34
A quotation in our church’s Advent devotional guide caused me to rethink my approach to Christmas:
“Let us at all costs avoid the temptation to make our Christmas worship a withdrawal from the stress and sorrow of life into a realm of unreal beauty. It was into the real world that Christ came, into the city where there was no room for Him, and into a country where Herod, the murderer of innocents, was king.
“He comes to us, not to shield us from the harshness of the world but to give us the courage and strength to bear it; not to snatch us away by some miracle from the conflict of life, but to give us peace—His peace—in our hearts, by which we may be calmly steadfast while the conflict rages, and be able to bring to the torn world the healing that is peace.”
When Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus to the Lord, Simeon said to them: “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
Christmas is not a retreat from reality but an advance into it alongside the Prince of Peace.
— from Our Daily Bread