There is a painting where Jesus is pictured as a teenager standing in his father’s carpentry shop. Jesus is hunched over working on something but then begins to stand straight & puts out his arms in order to stretch. Unknown to him, his Mother Mary is peeking through the door & she has a look of terror on her face. The light in the room is reflected in such a way that on the back wall can be see the image of Jesus w/ his arms stretched out on the cross.
Simeon tells Mary that sword will pierce her heart because her child will be controversial. There will be great suffering in her life because there would great suffering in his.
A danger in our Christmas celebrations is forgetting what happens to the little child we come to adore in the manger. The wood of the manger foreshadows the wood of the cross. We are not saved by Jesus’ birth but by his death. Mary people carry crosses at this time of year. But Jesus was born to help us in our suffering, to suffer with us and for us. Let his birth and his death be sign of his love in whatever we may be suffering today.