"And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:35
Surely as Simeon spoke to Joseph and Mary, telling them all of the incredible things about their newborn Savior, this couldn't just have slipped by unnoticed. Can you imagine how disturbing these words would have been? Can you imagine how disturbing they would be even now if someone uttered them to you this very day? What do you mean a sword will pierce my soul too? What in the world does that look like? And how does it even happen? How incredibly painful it sounds. I mean it would be painful enough for a sword to pierce our bodies, but piercing our soul seems even worse, like another level of pain and suffering altogether. Those who have experienced it know only too well.
And too. What is that supposed to mean? What in the world do you mean by too? Is my newborn baby's soul going to be pierced by a sword...as well as mine? Please just pierce me, and leave this precious little one's soul in one piece. To have the hearts and souls pierced of those we love most deeply is more than most of us can bear; way worse than those very things happening merely to us. But, then again, nobody knows that more than the Father, the One from whom all Fatherhood derives its name. If our souls can be pierced by tragedy, or loss, or desolation; imagine His very own...pierced to the core. Why on earth would God allows His own heart to be pierced? Or even more amazing, His own Son's? Something beautiful and life-giving must happen in the midst of the piercing...His, Joseph's, Mary's...and even ours. But that certainly doesn't take away the depths of the pain.
So as excited as Mary and Joseph must've been with angels, and shepherds, and stars, and wise men, and gifts, and prophesies, and such...somehow this one little line must've stopped them in their tracks. Surely this strange and awful phrase must've lingered in the backs of their minds and disrupted them...at least a little. So as we celebrate the gifts of these twelve days of Christmas, and the incredbile Gift given both to us and for us. Let us recognize, and embrace--as did Mary and Joseph--the notion that maybe, just maybe, this terribly disrupting little word is somehow meant for us as well.