A baby born in a barn.
Some simple shepherds.
Worshiping Wise men.
These are the pictures of the first Christmas we fondly bring to mind – lovingly serene, yet with a quaint earthiness.
But there is another side of the Christmas story. One we either intentionally overlook or don’t know is there. The coming of Jesus meant the whole world would be turned on its ear and some wouldn’t like it one bit.
A midst all the familiar scenes in Luke 2 comes a strong prophecy about a little, red-faced baby: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel…”
This short message becomes even more blunt as Simeon says to Mary, “And a sword shall pierce your own soul, too.” (Luke 2:34-35)
“What? This isn’t what I wanted to hear.” we say. “This just doesn’t fit in with caroling, shopping and watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’!”
Maybe not, but the truth is necessary in order for healing to prevail even if it doesn’t feel good. Certainly Jesus came to bring salvation and abundant life, but we first need major surgery; sin and self need to be dealt with. We don’t like surgery. It doesn’t feel good. The reality is a bad heart doesn’t get fixed by putting a band aid on it and singing “Kum Bah Yah.”
The baby born in a manger was destined to turn this world upside down, which really is the only way for us to get right side up! To some He was an answer to prayer. To others He got in the way of their self-centered lifestyle. We each must ask, “Which is it for me?”