Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mary: Scrapbook Mom? ... Or not?

Luke 2:19 "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

I've been meditating on Luke 2:1-19, the Christmas Story, lately. Makes sense during Advent, doesn't it? I don't have a special Advent devotional or anything. I'm just reading and rereading the text, trying to picture the story underlying it. I've noticed verse 19 before, particularly the phrase "Mary treasured up these things" because it is repeated later in verse 51 of that chapter. I figured it was because Mary is kind of a scrapbooking-type mom; a memory-keeper. But as I've run through these verses over and over today a different thought came to mind.

Here are Mary and Joseph, stuck in a stinky barn after a very long journey. Probably everyone else beat them to town since they'd have to take a slow pace given her condition. How discouraged they must have been. She has to give birth among animals, no doubt lots of them with all the travelers in town. Cramped, smelly, uncomfortable. "Where is God? Doesn't He see?" After all, it's His Son she's giving birth to. It's His Son that has to be put in the manger, full of animal drool and prickly hay.

Then these young boys come running in, all breathless. They're rumpled from sleeping in the fields. Shepherds. They're talking fast, excitedly. And Mary shakes off her pain and exhaustion to listen to what they're saying. "We saw angels, lots of them, in the sky," they report. A brilliant light. And an announcement. And now - here's the baby, just as they'd been told. God has not forgotten her! He does see! No wonder Mary pauses to ponder these things. They must have been a salve to her weary body and downcast soul. That God did bring in the Savior's birth with a heavenly fanfare was something to remember. I imagine it carried her through the tough days and weeks ahead.

So maybe she's not so much a scrapbooker as she is just a human mom in need of encouragement, in need of a milestone to remind her of God's care.

1 musings:

For now... said...

Do you ever wonder where Mary thought she would have this baby? Did she ever even imagine that He would be born in a smelly, dirty stable? You are so right - those shepherds showing up had to have been such an encouragement to her. Imagine an angel telling you that you were going to give birth to the Messiah, then at the time of the birth you are sent on a long hard journey, very dangerous at that point of pregnancy. Then to have the Child, Jesus, the Savior there in a manger. Do you think she was scared that she would miscarry on the journey? That she wouldn't be able to birth this baby on her own? Remember what it was like to have your first child? She was alone, as a woman givng birth, how scary. Was she wondering, is this how it's supposed to happen? Here? Then the shepherds show up and tell her about the star and their journey, then she realizes, YES! This is how it is suppoesed to happen! What an encouragement and comfort those shepherd boys must have been to Mary, worth stopping and pondering. I bet at that point the smell of the stable became a little sweeter.