Christmas Eve Scripture –December 24, 2019
The first time we actually hear Jesus called “the Messiah” in Luke is in the angelic announcement to the shepherds on the night Jesus is born. The shepherds go immediately to Bethlehem and tell Mary & Joseph all they had heard. (Luke 2:8-20)
We are told in verse 19 that Mary’s response to the shepherds’ words is she treasures and ponders them in her heart. Keep in mind that Mary is a young mother who has just given birth to her first child. The conception was miraculous, and she was told this was the child of God. She has given birth outdoors, possibly among livestock, and then visited by shepherds (likely rough looking men as they spend all their time outdoors herding and caring for sheep) whom she had never met. They tell her of their visit from a host of angels. Her child, this newborn baby wrapped in pieces of cloth in a manger, is the Messiah, the Christ, Israel’s long-awaited Savior. This young mother is finally holding her baby in her arms. She is receiving affirmation and praise from these unlikely visitors. She knows God will do great things through this child, God’s child, her child, but what does that mean?
The full story of all Jesus is to do is not revealed to Mary at one time. Even in knowing Jesus is the Christ, she does not know to the extent he must suffer. It is not understood she will watch him treated as a criminal and die a brutal death. She continues to follow him throughout his ministry, and other Gospels place her at the scene of the crucifixion at the feet of her son as he dies.
Mary’s faith through obedience and trust in God from the beginning will be crucial to her life as she rejoices and suffers with her son along his ministry. With each proclamation and affirmation she receives, whether divine or human, she stores it in her heart to carry with her on the long road ahead of her.
- What happens in the story you read?
- What does the story say about Mary?
- How do you think Mary was feeling or what do you think she was thinking?