Driving up the highway to return a few backup Christmas gifts, I began to meditate on the Christmas season, baby Jesus, and scripture I heard in church on Christmas Eve: But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
As the words of the verse rose to the surface of my consciousness, I began to cry. As the sobs bubbled up, I began to hum. Humming and sobbing, sobbing and humming, I wept for Mary and me. Humming to soothe myself as I had done for my baby girls years ago, I realized just how connected I felt to Mary – more so than I’d ever felt before.
Imagine yourself as Mary. Yes, men, you too. Imagine that you have recently given birth to this extraordinary child. You realize that your life will never be the same again. You’ve endured an arduous journey, and now have a baby who you know is God’s child. Then, shepherds appear uninvited by you, but with good news about your baby. The word is out – the Messiah is here. Everyone who hears this is amazed. But not you. You’re listening, savoring, remembering, and pondering.
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Think about all that we do for our children – our own and ours through the link of our baptismal covenant. Reflect on all that your children teach you. Ponder what you would do if Mary dropped baby Jesus off at your house for you to babysit. Imagine holding baby Jesus in church – rocking and swaying him during the Great Thanksgiving.
Following baby Jesus requires us to be open to all that he has to teach us in all of his babyness. This Jesus hasn’t preached the Sermon on the Mount. John hasn’t baptized this Jesus. This Jesus needs you more now than he ever will. Are you willing to care for him? Are you able to see Jesus in the lives of your children? Are you ready to know the part of you that is Mary?
As your children grow, and as baby Jesus grows, I pray that you will treasure the words of those who sing their praises and see the light of God in them. And I pray that you ponder these things in your heart, always.