The sights and sounds of Christmas are all around us! Shopping centers brimming and shoppers loaded with gifts. Kids waiting in long lines to have their pictures with Santa. Christmas music plays in the background. This is the Christmas scene in the 21st century.
This scene is worlds apart from the scene in Bethlehem long ago.
Every year when I read the Christmas story I discover something new and intriguing about it. This year I thought more about Mary’s visitation.
I’m pondering what it was like for the very young teenager. What did Mary feel at the moment when the angel appeared to her and told her she would have a baby and give birth to the Son of God.
In the Living Bible, it describes her as being frightened, confused and disturbed. The angel comforted her by telling her she does not need to be afraid. Her response is a simple “yes.”
After the angelic announcement, it tells us that Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Pondering is not the same as keeping a secret.
To ponder means to “think or consider, especially quietly, soberly and deeply.” A teenage girl pondering in her heart speaks to her maturity.
Mary’s mother may have been in total shock or maybe complete joy when finding out. After all, she was waiting for the Messiah but certainly not planning on being His Grandmother.
And what about Joseph and his parents? Would Joseph be able to continue his plan to marry this young virgin? Would he actually believe Mary’s story about the message and an angel?
And then telling her siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and community. Watching them whisper and hearing the rumors.
Did she doubt the message, “You will give birth to the son of God.”
Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Initially, Mary, Joseph, and the families could never have known the path they were about to walk down. All they knew at that moment was Mary was having a baby. Their world was turned upside down!
In our culture today to make the claim that you’re pregnant and a virgin would be ridiculed. Millions of followers expressing their opinions and outrage would create a public debate that would put Mary on every talk show around the world.
Her claim DID, in fact, create public outrage. Her critics, the religious people of her day, were verbal and would possibly demand her to be stoned. The outcry and disbelief of the people must have been more than she could bear.
Mary pondered all these things in her heart.
She said “yes” and her journey as the Mother of the Son of God began. Her “yes” caused no small commotion. Her “yes” resulted in the religious people of her day to reject and ultimately kill her son.
Even still, I think all of us would do well to follow Mary’s example. A simple “yes” to God in the face of being misunderstood and criticized. It led her to the purpose for her life which was to bring the Son of God into this world. It was the highest of all callings. She is referred to as being highly favored among women.
And so it was, Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem. Peace on earth, goodwill to men was the message it carried.
Marys “yes” resulted in a lifetime of pondering and wondering how the promise will be fulfilled. Her story continues to this day and is one of great courage, strength, and faith.
What about you? What “yes” have you been avoiding that you know in your heart and gut is right? What if that simple “yes” was the start of a great purpose in your life?
As you gather around this Christmas season, let us all remember the “yes” of Mary and the message of peace and goodwill that followed.
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