When one looks at the experience of "the holy family", and considers the misunderstanding that surely continued, surrounding the unique circumstances of Mary's pregnancy, one sees that this was not at all, an easy or glamorous road they were directed on, by God. Simeon's words mark the way of the cross that was to be the path for this Messiah, quite unlike anything Jews expected, surely taking back Mary and Joseph.
The way of the cross we see now, as necessary for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Jesus pointed this out to his disciples as he showed them from Scripture, on more than one occasion that the Messiah would have to suffer and die. Then, as he also taught, he would be raised to life. Very hard sayings on more than one level at that time.
This way is lived out in humility, and obedience. It really begins with God choosing a humble maiden and goes on to the difficulties in the scandal of her pregnancy, as it is misunderstood. Then goes on to a stable and manger in which this Messiah is born. Then they have to flee to Egypt. Then return to Nazareth to live a regular and unremarkable -at least for any messiah- life. This goes on for quite some time. With the twelve year old Jesus' remarkable incident in the temple being an exception to the rule (at least to those other than Mary and Joseph), as he becomes simply known as the carpenter, and of the family of Mary and Joseph.
God continues to work this way today. In Jesus. Through those we would not even consider. And even in our own lives, we who know ourselves all too well. But Jesus beckons us too, to take up our cross, and follow him, as his resurrected people. People who, in Jesus have died and been raised to live a new life. Yet do so not yet glorified. Living as his Body here on earth, in the days of our humiliation, prior to our glorification.
The way of the cross, as the old hymn goes, it leads home! And there's no other way in Jesus, but this way.
What about us? Do we believe that? How does that belief reflect in our celebration of Christmas? And most importantly, how does that belief reflect on how we live from day to day, week to week, year to year?