Luke 2:15-21 (ESV)
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Right in the middle of the Christmas story, Luke inserts this curious aside – “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Why is that there?
One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that its heroes are real people. Mary isn’t superwoman; she doesn’t instantly figure everything out. She’s nine months into the most incredible sequence of events imaginable and new stuff pops up every day.
Many wonderful things are happening but she’s still stuck in a barn with a newborn and no better place to lay the child than in a manger. Who wouldn’t feel out of their depth in that situation?
Mary doesn’t know what we know, namely what’s going to happen next. Imagine her panic if she did! God is preparing her for the road ahead and Luke makes a point of telling us here that she’s busy taking it all in. It gives us a glimpse of how she’s walking her road.
This is model for us. The lesson here is to always pay attention and to think. That sounds obvious but it isn’t. When you’re in the midst of a trial, the last thing you feel like doing is concentrating on the events at hand.
But that’s exactly what you often need to do. In all things, seek God’s will. Not everything that happens is a sign from God, but always consider that possibility. Anything extraordinary (good or bad) should really get your attention.
The goal in a trial isn’t just getting through the trial, it’s also discerning God’s will and learning whatever it is He’s trying to teach you. This translates into a different kind of prayer.
When frustrated, have you ever looked heavenward and prayed (or even screamed), “Is there a point to this?” That may not be an ideal prayer but it connects in a way that simply asking for favors doesn’t.
If you think God’s up to something, talk to Him.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: