I try to imagine the first Christmas…
The journey to Bethlehem with very-pregnant Mary. The rush to make arrangements for a place to stay. The birth itself with all its joy and pain. The first moments with baby Jesus, mother and child.
And then shepherds arrive. They share a strange report. Angels had appeared to them in the night sky. They appeared proclaiming the birth of the Messiah. The pronouncement was still ringing in their ears when they stumbled into the stable: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
At this point, some level of clamor must have been developing in the city, for we read next, “And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” Who was this all? Apparently, word had gotten out.
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
By starting the sentence with a rather forceful “but,” we are meant to see the contrast. Mary is quiet. Everyone is talking. She is thinking. She is meditating. She is pondering this little baby and these big promises…in her heart.
As we reclaim the truth of Christmas this year, the move to the heart is an important one. We can’t miss it. We may reclaim the facts. We may reclaim the meaning, but if this knowledge does not reach our hearts, it will do us little good.
So, I propose we look to Mary as our example of Christmas focus. Just as she sat cuddling her sweet newborn and pondering all that was spoken of him, may we do the same in our hearts. May we slow down, in quietness and stillness, and meditate in our hearts on the good news of Christmas.