Summary: The impact of meditating on meaningful events in our lives.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Did you ever have something that took place in your life that was so dramatic, so life-changing, so significant, that you could not get it out of your mind? In fact, from time to time you still harken back to it mentally, even though many years have passed?
It might be a memory of your first date, or perhaps your wedding day. And then again, it might have been that time when certain feelings overwhelmed you at the birth of your first child. It could even be memories of a spiritual nature–your conversion experience or baptism. Whatever the case, it was worth remembering and meditating upon. Mary had one of those moments that would forever affect her life. Luke tells us in verse 19 of chapter 2 that Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
That’s another way of saying that she stored up those precious memories in her heart. In other words, she weighed them over and over in her mind, thinking deeply about their significance. She would draw upon them many times later in her life.
So much had happened to Mary in the last few months that she hardly had time to sit and think about it. Now at last, she takes time to reflect upon everything she had seen, heard and experienced.
What are the things she treasured in her heart? We can only speculate, of course. But some things seem to jump out from this account in Luke. For example, consider the appearance of Gabriel and his announcement to her. He told her five astounding things:
(1) Among all the women of the world, God had selected her to bear His Son–she was highly favored.
(2) The Lord would be with her and she would become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(3) When the child would be born she is to give him the name Jesus (Joshua) which means, “Savior.”
(4) He will be great and will be called the “Son of the Most High,” a clear reference to deity.
(5) He will be given the throne of David and will reign forever. His kingdom will never end.
Is it not possible that part of Mary’s pondering might have included her visit to Elisabeth when John the Baptist leaped for joy in Elisabeth’s womb (Luke 1:39-44)? Or perhaps she thought about the long, hard trip to Bethlehem, the lodging in a stable, the visit of the shepherds–their story, their reaction–their sense of awe and act of worship.
In any event, these were in part, memories to be called up from time to time. Consider Mary’s inner feelings in regard to Joseph.
1. MARY’S INNER FEELINGS
She loved and appreciated Joseph deeply. It hadn’t been easy for him and she knew it. There was a lot of trust in their relationship. Even when Joseph thought Mary had wronged him, there was no desire on his part to punish or humiliate her (Matthew 1:18-21). He had an inner strength that Mary must have admired and thought about frequently. This gives all of us pause to reflect on how much our spouses mean to us and how blessed we are to be recipients of their love.
Its true that Mary would nurture great love for her son Jesus and for his half-brothers and sisters yet to be born, but her love for Joseph was a special kind. It was a love born out of mutual respect and shared values.
The church focuses a good deal of attention on Mary, as well it should, but let’s not forget Joseph. He was special to Mary. In the Jewish home it was the father who had the primary responsibility for the religious instruction of the children. If the elders in the temple marveled at Jesus’ knowledge of the Scriptures at age 12, then I say that Joseph did his job well.
Psychologists tell us that our earthly father gives us our clearest impression of the nature of God. If our father was harsh, we will probably see God in the same way. If he was gentle and kind, our image of Him will be the same. Is it possible that Jesus’ concept of His heavenly Father as loving, merciful, and kind was modeled by Joseph? No wonder Mary loved Joseph. Surely her love for him was one of the things she treasured and pondered in her heart.