It wouldn't make a very good Christmas carol, but the words of a guy named Simeon, who saw Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus are just as true as the more jingly, "Joy to the world, the Lord has come!"
"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 2:34b-35
Have you sat down this Christmastime and just read through the book of Luke in the Bible? You should do it. There's a lot of choruses and jingles and ditties and lines floating around this time of year, but when you open the Bible, it really cuts through all those bells and whistles and pierces heart-thoughts and you trip and get up and look at what your tripping over there in the text and you wrestle with it and you come away with a very real blessing. A blessing much better than anything wrapped under your tree right now. Guaranteed.
The story of Christ is amazing. Absolutely amazing. The unseen God revealing himself in the flesh. Not just taking on a coat of flesh, but really becoming a man. A baby first. Growing up in obscurity. And then living out a rejected, perfect manhood.
When I take time to sit and read the account of the coming of Christ in the flesh and the record of his human life laid down for us and the miracle of his actual resurrection and the promise of his return and my actual resurrection, I really begin to celebrate! Everything else- Christmas cookies, wrapping paper, gifts to buy, things to put in the mail, decor to hang, etc., etc.- it just gets lost in the light of the wonder of the mystery and miracle of the incarnation of Christ Jesus and the glory of how he saves.
So, this night before the night before the night before Christmas, really celebrate. Sit down. Open Luke. Read it. Wrestle with it. Talk to God about it. Maybe like me you'll do like that guy Jacob did, as you wrestle- cling to Christ and tell him, "I won't let go until you bless me!" And don't. Don't let go. Hold on to the things you hear in Luke. Treasure them in your heart like Mary. Wonder at the mystery and gaze at the massive truth and cling to the One who brought it to pass until he blesses you with a blessing of knowing, a little more, the unknowable love of Christ.
"...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -Ephesians 3:17-21It's the best Christmas gift you could ever get. Guaranteed.