By Brenda Jank
Speaking to Joseph and Mary in the Temple courts, Simeon ended by looking at Mary and announcing “And a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” Luke 2:35
Double whammy. In 9 words, Simeon makes it clear that this precious bundle in Mary’s arms would face the blade of a sword and Mary would not be immune. Her mother’s heart would bleed.
That’s quite a prediction for a young teen who was up round-the-clock satisfying the hunger pains of the Son of God packaged as her newborn babe. I imagine her double-take. Searching the aging eyes of the man before her, she grips the baby in her arms as the words slowly sink in. Did she tremble?
At that time Mary was in unfamiliar territory wading through a load of loss – the loss of her reputation, her family, her home – the staggering loss of everything safe, normal, and known. Standing before her and her new husband, Joseph, was a task too daunting for anyone to fully comprehend. How often did the angel’s words flood her soul, fighting back the fear that threatened to consume? Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37
The events of 2022 – both personally and globally – made me tremble. More than once I found myself saying, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Places of pain and impossibilities are where the Christmas story comes to life. Here, as we tiptoe through the end of 2022 towards the launch of 2023, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) invites us to allow Him to place our hearts in protective custody. Paul, in his letter to the persecuted Body of Christ in Philippi, reminds us that …the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Protective custody. Guarded by the One and Only.
The blows and burdens of 2022 had me diving into Psalm 56:3. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. We spent much of this year flirting with a sense of overwhelm. I needed a daily declaration to steady my heart.
Four words became my prayer and battle cry. “I will trust You.”
Trusting God is possible and lifegiving. It is possible because God will not give us anything He can’t handle.
Protective Custody. We are safe and secure. Jesus came to make it so.
Protective Custody requires a surrender. What sweet surrender is needed this Christmas to guard your heart and mind – and bring back the joy?