Some of our seniors shared memories of Christmases past at a recent event. Memories can be sweet. They can also be sorrowful. As Saturday, December 21st morphed into Sunday, December 22, I remembered those same dates and days 22 years ago when my mother passed into glory. But I also remember much more pleasant things about Christmas past. For those whose recent memories fade with time, it is often those things from the more distant past that remain in the mind and heart.
For Mary, the mother of Jesus, remembering the events surrounding the birth of her Son would leave an indelible mark on her.
After the long trip from Nazareth, the birth in a stable, the visit of the shepherds, the Scriptures record: “...Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). The shepherds went out to tell the world what they had seen, but Mary, the mother, kept silent.
Most mothers are never reluctant to sing the praises of their children so it seems odd that Mary simply hugged in her heart all the events surrounding the birth of this miraculous baby.
She treasured the memories and she thought about them. Everything that had happened was something to be treasured. Every step was a miracle; every moment an adventure in grace. But she also thought about all that had happened and was happening. It is not recorded for us what she thought so we can only imagine.
How do you wrap your mind around being mother to the Son of God? Most new moms worry about being able to cope—especially first-time moms. But this was no ordinary baby. Did she wonder what looking after Him, raising Him, would require?
Or did she look beyond babyhood and boyhood and think about the mission of the man/God, the Saviour, the Messiah? She had no idea where His path would take Him—and her.
In later years, as she looked back on Jesus’s life, His death, His resurrection, I imagine that she embraced the memories of His birth with new intensity. She had played her part in something she probably never imagined happening during those early days in a stable in Bethlehem. What was to be was beyond imagination. It was a miracle.
As we play our parts in whatever God sends our way today, it might not be a bad idea to treasure the experiences, the miracles, the opportunities that come our way, and to think of them as part of something much bigger than they are right now. Perhaps someday we will, like Mary, look back and marvel that, great or small, the events of our lives all served a divine purpose over which God had complete control.