And a sword will pierce through your own soul also… Luke 2:35a
The birth of Jesus was, and is, an event to celebrate. Our Christmas celebrations all hark back to that event. Even an unbelieving world gives an acknowledgement to that birth, with shepherds worshiping and angels singing.
Luke, the doctor-historian, made it clear in the preface to his account of Jesus' life (as written to Theophilus) that he wanted to give "an orderly account" of what took place in regards to the life of Jesus. Apparently he interviewed Mary, the mother of Jesus, before writing his account.
Like any mother…and maybe a first time mother in particular…Mary would have been not only relieved at the birth of Jesus but also very happy to see her child was healthy and physically fine. The amount of joy she felt was certainly great. And then to have had the shepherds show up! What likely began as a really bad night (no place to sleep; getting stuck in a stable/barn (cave?)) ended as a really great night. And then, to have given birth so close to Jerusalem made the dedication of her son a lot easier than it otherwise would have been.
But it was at the temple that Simeon, the old priest, took special notice of the approximately two-month old baby Jesus (see Leviticus 12). This was THE ONE that he had been anticipating his whole adult life. For Jesus he foresaw great things; for Mary he foresaw how "a sword will pierce through your soul also." A PHYSICAL sword would one day pierce through Jesus' side, but an EMOTIONAL sword is what would pierce Mary's soul.
Mary – so adored by the Roman Catholic Church and so wrongly neglected by Protestantism – serves as an archetype for the rest of us. Though she, like us, owes everything to her Savior (Luke 1:47), when He suffered, she suffered. When he died, she (in a sense) died.
The Bible says that we, in our sufferings, "fill up the sufferings of Christ" (Colossians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 1:5). If your life has been characterized by the word suffering – and I know that for some of you that is exactly how it has been – then join hands today with Mary. She experienced the JOY of mothering the King of Kings, but that joy, in time, was overshadowed by the agony that she would experience.
Of course, for our Savior, without that piercing there would have been no glory. Without the cross, there would be no crown. That held for Jesus just as it held for Mary and for us. It is our endurance under tribulation that gives us hope for a better day. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us," is how the apostle Paul put it (Romans 8:18).
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Yes, blessed. But because of Him, Mary, your soul was also pierced.