A bonus “Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 25, 2020. Read Luke 2:1-20 and Psalm 148
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
After the shepherds find Mary and Joseph the the baby lying the manger, they shared just why they were there. They had a quite the story to share about the angel’s announcement and the multitude of angels’ wonderful praises that night. Once they left, Mary had plenty of things to ponder. What a night!
We all have memories that we treasure. We store away special places we’ve been and people we’ve met. Photo albums and scrapbooks are filled with treasured moments from our lives. Certain songs or smells or sights bring those moments to mind as well. The music played at your wedding. The aroma of the cookies your mom always baked. The sight of an ornament that you’ve hung on your Christmas tree every year you’ve celebrated.
A ceramic nativity my wife made during her first pregnancy brings back the memories of our firstborn son. A set of nesting Santas we received as a gift in Des Moines brings back memories of playing “hide the baby Santa” with our children and grandchildren. Christmas poems I’ve written for my wife over the years remind us of what was going on at that time in our lives. And how we love to retell the stories – so many stories – of celebrations with our family in different places and in different ways.
I don’t know how often Mary talked about that night. After all, her pregnancy would have been a bit of a scandal. Her explanation a little fantastical for the average listener. At some point, she must have shared it with Luke, or someone Luke got to know. He wanted to be sure he got the story straight when he wrote his gospel about the Christ.
She would have a lot of time to reflect upon this night and what it really meant to be a servant of the Lord. She wouldn’t get much sleep until Jesus began sleeping through the night. She would have a lot of time to ponder while feeding him, rocking him and just simply watching him sleep. She had no idea what was coming. No parent does. Each day is a new page in the story of a baby’s life.
I hope you have a little time to ponder this Christmas. Hopefully, you’ve had some fun, joy and food with family and perhaps some good friends. But if you have a moment, just listen to your heart. What memories of the past are treasured up there? What questions about the future does it ask?
Chances are you’ve heard Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth within the past twenty-four hours. How did you feel as you heard those words? Tuck them away in your heart, think about them often, marvel at this good news of great joy that will be for all the people, and hum whatever carol comes to mind.
Thank you, Lord, for the many memories we store up in our hearts that always bring us back to the good news of Christmas. Amen.