I imagine that the first ever Christmas (also known as the time when Jesus was born) was hectic. The build-up and expectations of Mary and Joseph on their unborn child. Angels had communicated to them both about the baby. Literal angels. Then the travel to Bethlehem, the stress of finding a place to stay, (it’s almost as if they found the first Airbnb room, but probably would have left a scathing review) the animals, the dirt, the straw, the challenge of giving birth, learning to figure out what to do with a newborn and then the visitors.
But after all the initial barrage of activity subsided, after the visitors had left, praising God for what they had witnessed, there is this moment of quiet when Mary takes stock of it all.
Luke 2:19 says that Mary ‘treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart’.
Somehow, she had the ability to be present in that moment. She didn’t get caught up in the regret of how things turned out (I’m not sure this would have been in her birth plan), nor did she get overwhelmed by anxiety about the future and all the things that could happen when you are mother of the Messiah. Instead, Mary captured that moment. I imagine a still, peaceful moment. Maybe a cricket or two chirping (are there crickets in Bethlehem?), a soft breeze blowing, and the sound of a tiny baby breathing in and out as he slept. It’s enough to overflow the hearts of his parents with joy. The miracle of childbirth for sure, but more than that, it is the miracle that God would send this baby as the one who would carry out His plan to save the whole world. The presence of God, wrapped in flesh and bone, needing to be fed and changed every three hours. That sure is a lot to ponder.
So, my hope for us this Christmas, this special time of year, is that we will find a moment or two like this. Where we can treasure all these things:
- the miracle of a baby
- the love of a God that brought it all about so we could be in relationship with Him
- the man that Jesus grew up to be
- His sacrifice
…and ponder them in our hearts. May that bring you peace, joy and hope, whilst removing regret about what was and anxiety about what could be.