September 29th, 2022
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. – Luke 2:19 ESV
The birth of Christ is the most amazing occurrence in all of history. Not only for the miracle of the birth, but the impact this birth had on the world and history. It began with an 85-mile journey, a five- or six-day trip, to the city of Bethlehem for a required census. Joseph most likely walking, and Mary perhaps riding sidesaddle on a donkey. Swollen and achy from pregnancy and nearing birth, we imagine she felt every rut and jolt from the weathered and well-traveled dirt road.
Arriving in Bethlehem, they most likely faded into the mass of travelers also reporting for the census. There were no rooms left at the inn. All booked, no vacancy. It’s late. Joseph and Mary are exhausted and desperate as the contractions begin, so they take shelter near where the animals are kept. The birth soon begins. No epidural, no hospital, no sedative to ease the pain. We imagine Mary’s moans and cries piercing the stable and night air. Pushing with all her strength, the Messiah arrives! Born into a trauma-filled world from a common Jewish girl, and then the first cries of the Divine! “For unto us a child is born…”(Isaiah 9:6). Joseph and an exhausted Mary are in awe and wonder, treasuring this moment and all that led up to it from the Immaculate conception, the promise of a Savior fulfilled.
There was no notice of this royal birth. No congratulations from heads of states and provinces. There’s no record that angels were present. It was only the mice and fleas and grunts and groans from the host of animals in the stable who witnessed this amazing and glorious occurrence.
Heaven took notice though. Angels rejoiced, perhaps the captives stirred, a star proudly displayed itself in the night skies of the desert marking the birthplace of the Savior of the world. An announcement went forth to some shepherds in their field who traveled to this place to wonder and worship to see the Savior.
On the surface, the majesty of the birth of Christ is absurd. Born of a virgin, in an animal barn, in poverty to a commoner Jewish girl, the circumstances cast doubt on any claims of majesty. It was absurd to an unbelieving world, but not to those who saw this event. The shepherds, the first evangelists of the Gospel age, went back to their sheep telling everyone along the way and glorifying God for all the things they had heard and seen. Those who heard were also astonished (Luke 2:18-20).
Mary responded as she “treasured up all these things” that happened. She reflected deeply on the significance of the birth of her child and kept it all in her thoughts. She “pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). We imagine her mulling it all over, seeking understanding while cradling her newborn, gazing into the eyes of her baby boy and accepting the call in her heart to mother and nurture her child all the days of His life.
In 2 Timothy 4:8, the apostle Paul speaks to the believer’s great reward of the crown of righteousness to all those who love and look forward to the promise of our Lord’s return. I hope your heart is in that place. And in the meantime, let us treasure and ponder the first appearing of our Lord as Paul testifies in 1 Timothy 1:10. Our last enemy, death, was defeated forevermore in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. “Oh death where is your sting, Oh grave, where is your victory” (1 Corinthians 15:56).
When was the last time you truly took time and treasured all that brought you to your salvation? When was the last time you pondered what the birth of Christ means to you? Does His peace that surpasses all understanding truly rule your heart today? Let us all make abundant room in our hearts for Jesus this day and all He did for us in defeating death.
Today, treasure, ponder, and embrace Him with open arms and with the grace to be still and know He is God and the Savior of the world.
Inspirational Image of the Day