Jesus’ first day in the Temple began with joyful praise and thanksgiving to God as Simeon proclaimed that his own eyes had seen salvation. Holding the eight-day-old Baby, he was looking at the Light of the world. He turned to address Jesus’ stunned parents. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.” This “mixed blessing” must have been a challenge for the young mother to take in. Mary pondered all these things and more. Jesus was the Son of God yet He was an infant in her arms. She would live to see Him adored and opposed. Diverse responses to Jesus continue today. O come let us adore Him!
My own son, Isaiah, had just turned one year old when the five of us celebrated our first Christmas in North Carolina. Following my mom’s Christmas tradition, I made rock candy and then we left the warm kitchen for an outdoor adventure. The kiddos were all bundled up as we approached the live nativity scene in our rural town. Laying decorated bags of the candy at the cradle in the makeshift stall, they were in awe of “Baby Jesus”. I thought of Mary and all that her heart must have experienced in the thirty-three years that her Son lived on earth. The good times, the sad times, the times that may have seemed too hard to endure. God creates us with a wide range of emotion. Jesus is with us in all times and He remains a joy to many, just like Simeon said in his blessing.