infant-jesus-born-01But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Mom’s amaze me. Sit and listen sometime to a group of mother’s talking about their ‘babies’. They compare their pregnancies, the stages of development of the child, whose member of the family they resemble the most. I love the “She has her daddy’s [nose, eyes, ears, hair]. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but I never could figure that one out.

It must have been an incredible scene in the stable that night. Mary, a young, unwed mom. She was in the hometown of her husband, miles from anyone she knew; having just endured what must have been a grueling donkey ride, especially being nine months pregnant! Scared, uncertain, alone, even though she was in the presence of the man she loved.

Joseph. A young carpenter. The last thing he thought he’d be doing is marrying a pregnant woman. The last place he thought he’d be was a stable in the middle of the night, playing mid-wife to his soon-to-be bride!

Yet there they were. Confused, yet in awe. Can you imagine the journey to Bethlehem? Discussing over and over again the conversations they’d had with their respective angels? Wondering what all this would mean? What would happen if the baby were born in Bethlehem, or on the way!

Then the shepherds showed up. Mary’s first visitors. A bunch of smelly, rough, simple shepherds with an angel story of their own. I would guess they were a little apprehensive to tell their angel story until they found out that Mary and Joseph understood all too well about angel visits in the middle of the night!

But all that activity paled in comparison to the gift that night. The gift of a tiny infant that symbolized the great love the Father has for his children. God with us. God among us. God as one of us.

The angels proclaimed it above the dark hillsides of Bethlehem. Glory to God! Glory to him in the highest, who was and is and is to come. The king has come in the form of a pauper to lead us to new life in him. It was an amazing proclamation of worship and praise.

In the stable, Mary worshipped as well. One little phrase that we attribute to the manger scene, but as with any mom, it was a phrase that would follow her entire life: “Mary pondered all these things in her heart.”

Ponder: To reflect, to remember, to keep near you, to consider quietly, deeply in your mind.

Some of the gifts we’ve been given will be broken, used up or forgotten before the tinsel is down and the lights are put away for another year. But the most important gift of all, the baby in the manger is one that should be a ‘pondering place’ throughout the year.

The angels worshipped God in an awesome display of light and song. Mary worshipped in the quiet solitude of her heart. Worship involves both expression and introspection; revealing itself over time and depth as our relationship grows with the Father.

PRAYER: Creator God, I am in awe of your love for me. I am amazed that you left your throne and became one of us so we could find life in you. Amen.