A CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL
“ And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
My oldest child’s birth had been a bustling affair--with four first-time grandparents eagerly waiting outside the door and a new Daddy by my side waiting to know whether we would have a son or daughter. When our son was placed in my arms, the doors opened and those grandparents poured in. The conversation grew loud and joyous, and the sweet little boy became the center of our family’s attention.
Finally, I was left alone in a hospital room with my baby. I’ll never forget looking down at his sleeping face in the thick of silence. The weight of raising up a child was heavy and sobering before I could hold him, but when I could stare into his tiny face and hold his little hand? Breath-taking. I’ll never forget the whisper in my heart humbling me to the magnitude of this gift in my arms.
My baby is now eighteen, ready to step out into the world on his own. As he grows and paves his way toward his own future, I often think of that time when I held him in the quiet hospital room, promising to raise him up in the way he should go. Now, I sense the fulfillment of that first moment, as I face so many last moments of my son’s childhood actively pressing in on us.
After the bustle of shepherds and animals and a kind man who’d kept his promise to her, I wonder how Mary bore the magnitude of all she had to ponder. She not only had this sweet baby boy to care for and nurture, but she knew the plans God had for him--world-shifting plans first heard by her young ears from the lips of an angelic being.
Yet, everything seemed upside down for such a miraculous birth, didn’t it?
Did Mary ponder the unlikely birthing room for the mother of a king?
Did she ponder the fact that the angels spoke to lowly shepherds instead of respected rabbis?
Did she ponder the road ahead, where she would be responsible for raising up a child that God had bestowed upon her in such a supernatural way?
All that happened on that night was only a glimpse at the ordained future of a Savior.
As Mary’s son grew, he traveled to remote places and sat at unlikely tables. He spoke with lowly men and chose fishermen as friends. And, the boy became a miracle worker and offered supernatural promises that indeed came true.
Looking back, the Christmas story “fits” the kind of life Christ lived on Earth. I am sure, without the knowledge of the end of the story, the manger and the shepherds and the responsibility of mothering a gift from the Lord was a whole lot to ponder for a young girl. But, Mary sat in those firsts, with the promises of a Savior actively pressing in on her and the manger. And those shepherds, even those shepherds, had confirmed the same promises that the angel offered Mary nine months before.
Maybe Mary’s choice to ponder and treasure was exactly what the mother of God was supposed to do in those first moments. So much lay ahead. And for a mother’s heart, that quiet preparation was necessary to live life with the newborn son who would grow to not only become a man with his own future, but the Savior of the World with a bright future promised for all of us.