[What follows is my memory of what I shared tonight at our Christmas Eve service. Knowing how bad my memory can be I hope this is a fairly accurate recreation of my meditation!]
What I want to share with you is something that is very hard to do given the way we celebrate Christmas. But it’s important and I hope you’ll consider it.
What is it? Taking time to be quiet and to ponder or meditate on some of the meaning of Christmas. Look at part of the Christmas Story as presented by the Apostle Luke:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:14-19 (ESV)
Mary treasured up everything that had happened to her and pondered them “in her heart.” That means privately. Alone with her own thoughts Mary chewed over everything that she had seen and heard.
Notice when this happens. Mary has already been visited by the Angel and told she’s going to be the mother of the Messiah. She’s seen her Aunt Elizabeth and seen God’s work in her. She’s carried Jesus to term and has just gone through what must have been, at the very least, a challenging birth of her first born. (We aren’t told if they had a midwife, but if they didn’t I’ll bet Joseph’s prayer life had really improved that night!)
After all those amazing and truly miraculous experiences Mary still hadn’t gotten it all. She was still working through what it really meant to be the mother of the Messiah who would die for the people’s sins.
Mary was blessed above all women but she was still just human. Just like everyone else it’s one thing to receive information and another to really assimilate it. It takes us time to work through what things really mean to us and how they’re going to change our lives.
So Mary privately pondered what God was doing.
What a great idea. What a fantastic way to really mark the birth of the Messiah.
So here’s my suggestion for what it’s worth. Sometime in the next few hours or days take some time alone and ponder what it really means for God to become a man. You’ll never really understand it of course. It’s a wonder of wonders to be sure. But think about it.
And then ask yourself how this all is impacting your life, and how it should be changing it and changing you.
I can’t think of any better way to really mark the birth of Jesus than to take time “To Know Him…and Make Him Known.”