“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. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” 
Luke 2:34-35 NLT

Roman soldiers were patrolling the streets of Israel and the known world, enforcing their brand of peace. King Herod was acting like a ruler elected for life. Government edicts, taxes, and laws were being imposed on poor couples like Mary and Joseph, who had to return to their home city of Bethlehem. Sad events were happening in families and in the community, as hope for a better tomorrow slowly faded to a whisper. But in the midst of all this chaos, the most wonderful event in all of history occurred, bringing inexpressible joy to a sad and lonely world. But as we read the words of Simeon in Luke 2:34–35, we learn that in the first century, and still today, Jesus’s coming causes great joy or great opposition.

When I lost my wife to cancer in 2017, I didn’t think I would ever be joyful again. However, God called me to “live on.” He began healing my broken heart by encouraging me to be faithful in what He had called me to do: walk with Him and serve others. Brothers and sisters prayed for me faithfully and, over time, the joy of the Lord returned and God sent me a new relationship with a godly woman. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).

What are your deepest thoughts about Jesus’s coming? Do they cause you to rejoice or do they cause you to stumble? This Christmas, don’t let materialism, greed, power, or ambition cause you to stumble over the humble way that Christ our King entered into the world. Rather, by faith, choose joy as your response to His coming. Let us learn from Simeon and Anna who waited joyfully for years for the Messiah’s coming before they were rewarded. May we all celebrate our Lord’s coming to earth with great joy.