Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Christmas

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

After the angel had spoken to the shepherds, and a “multitude of the heavenly host” had sung God’s praises, the shepherds resolved to make their way to Bethlehem. They wanted to see what the angel had declared, the birth of a baby who is a Saviour, Christ the Lord. Off they rushed, following the tracks to the small village seven miles out from Jerusalem. There they found Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

As they came in and gathered around the manger, they reported to what must have been a rather bewildered little family all that they had heard from the angel. The words poured out “a Saviour”, “Christ the Lord”. They recounted how this child was to be found in a manger. And here he is! Just as they said.

All who heard the shepherds, marvelled at what they heard - as so they should! These are great claims being made of this tiny, fragile life nestling amongst the straw. What did Mary think as her eyes flicked from shepherd to child? Did she dismiss them, did she forget them? No, she pondered them in her heart. She chewed them over, and tried to make sense of it all. She gave it careful thought.

Here is a good model of what to do when we are faced with some act of God, some words of God which make little sense. We chew it over in the secret of our heart, and pray for understanding. How quick we can be to dismiss things which initially make little sense! Better to follow Mary and slowly ponder.

Picture from The Bible Project

To You

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10–12) - The birth at Bethlehem was not simply a remote event, a quirk of history. Its consequences extended to shepherds on a remote hillside and wise men in a far away country. It was a fulfilment of prophecies a millennium old, and affects us two millennia on.

O God, Our Hope in Ages Past

O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home; "Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2) - God was their hope in ages past, and once more had brought them relief. We too worship that same God, and so we to shouldn’t be shy in allowing his faithfulness in the past to give us confidence in our future.

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