Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pondering These Things

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing
that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:15-19)

I suppose it was business as usual for the shepherds the night of Jesus’ birth. They went about their task of watching over their sheep just as they had done many nights before. However, this night would be a very different one.

I imagine them lying about on a small hillside so they could see all of the sheep. Since it was night, they might have been tired, or they might have been complaining about having to work the night shift for the third time in a month, or they may have been talking or playing a game as they went about their work. Whatever they were doing, it was all interrupted by someone appearing right in front of them. As if that were not enough to startle them, this person was illuminated by a bright light.

They were certainly afraid, and the angel did what it could to calm them. The angel told them of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, and then just to put an exclamation point at the end of the sentence, they were joined by a whole sky filled with angels singing.

Of course, the shepherds were excited, afraid, confused, and probably experienced many other emotions that night. The adrenaline was pumping, so they left the sheep and found the newborn baby Jesus in the manger. They excitedly told their tale to everyone they met along the way and at the stable. Everyone they told was just as excited as they were, except one.

Mary didn’t rejoice with the others at the re-telling of the shepherd’s story. Have you ever wondered why? I have.

The wonderful song Mary Did You Know? perhaps gets as near to the answer as I have found. Maybe she did know more than the Bible tells us. After all, she carried God Himself in her womb for nine months. She nourished Him with the food that she ate. She nursed Him and sustained His earthly life. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that she might have caught a glimpse of who He was, and would be?

She also may have “pondered these things” because up until that time, she, Joseph, and some immediate family were the only ones who knew who the baby was and to whom He truly belonged. When the shepherds came and told their story, she may have realized that her newborn, was not for her joy alone, but she would have to share Him with the entire world.

Jesus not only came to save her, but also shepherds, fishermen, tax collectors, priests, kings, the unlovable, the downtrodden, drug addicts, pornographers, and you. This Christmas, allow the baby Jesus to warm your heart, but also allow Christ the Savior to wash you clean with His love. He loves you so much that He left Heaven to become one of us, so He could lead us to righteousness. There is no greater gift.

My prayer is for you and your families to have the most wonderful Christmas this year.
Merry Christmas from me and my family.

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