“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” – Luke 2:19-20
Imagine being so young, delivering this child that is supposed to be the Son of God, judgment and assumptions made by your community of friends and family who probably suspect your story is a lie and your husband is a joke for keeping you. A barrage of emotions has been rolling through your life ever since that pesky Gabriel arrived with his message of hope: fear, faith, confidence, doubt, frustration, insecurity, reassurance, and now all of these things: the shepherds, Joseph staying with her, the heavenly host of angels singing, “glory to God in the highest!”
Sometimes, it is enough to “treasure up all these things” and “ponder them.” Some of us are shepherds, reporting to the broader world the miraculous and mysterious things we’ve seen, and some of us are like Mary, experiencing the miraculous and the mysterious in such an intimate way that the only audience we can entertain for the time being is our own hearts.
Last year, I wrote a poem for the third Sunday of Advent, the candle of joy, called “First (Mary’s Poem).” Those moments before and immediately following the birth of a child are distinct, vivid memories permanently imprinted. We are the first to know this new life, this new person, the first to nurture, the first to hold. It is too much to speak into words at first.
Advent Activity: Sigh
I give up. We made it a good two weeks with our advent activities until all efforts came crashing in, physically falling off of the wall. The cork board advent calendar was a good idea, but the air must be too dry for the double-sided foam tape in our house. So much for that. Today’s activity is a manageable one, though – eat Christmas cookies! No problem.