The Beginning

The past few weeks, I’ve been reading from Luke 2. Probably not shocking since it’s advent and Luke 2 is the Christmas story.  Even though Luke 2 isn’t exactly random, the one verse that’s been sticking out to me kind of is. That verse is this,

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Luke 2:19

When the angel showed up informing Mary that she was the one God had chosen to give birth to the Messiah, this is what she said, “I am the Lord’s servant…” (Luke 1:38) Here’s this thirteen year old girl who’s engaged (to a man that was not her first choice), and now she’s going to be pregnant (and not by him). In a Jewish community.
Thirteen. Unwed. Pregnant. Jewish community. Not a good mix.
Especially when your future husband isn’t the father of the baby. Her price to pay would most likely result in being stoned to death. But instead of asking, “Why?” Mary asks, “How?” (v. 34) Not in the sense that God isn’t capable, but in a sense of wonder.
There’s an immediate response of faith.

So, Mary conceives and nine months later she heads to Jerusalem with Joseph. They end up in a stable where God enters the world in the form of man. Meanwhile, the angels appear to the shepherds and the shepherds head straight to Jesus. Upon arrival, they tell Mary what the angels had said. She begins to take it all in. Her faith becomes her sight.
She knows it’s only the beginning.
Later on in the chapter, more people tell Mary that they are surely laying eyes on the Messiah.
It started with the shepherds, and continued on throughout Jesus’ childhood.
So, again, in verse 51, “his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”

I don’t think Mary was letting these events penetrate into the depths of her heart because she was caught off guard when they happened, as if what God had told her was too far fetched to be true. I think she was taking them in because to Mary, this was confirmation of her faith. This was God saying, “Remember, He’s my son.  He has a mission. A purpose. This is what I sent Him here to do.” And the way I picture it, Mary dug up all the memories she had treasured in her heart as she watched Him die on the cross.

As He hangs there suffering, Mary reflects on that night thirty-three years ago when the shepherds came. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (v.13) This is for peace. This is for goodwill. She pictures that day at the temple when Simeon and Anna praise God because they have seen Salvation. They have been in the presence of the one who would bring redemption for all of mankind. And now, Mary is watching redemption take place. The weight of the world is on her baby’s shoulders, and she can’t make it stop. This is for salvation. This is for redemption. The memories play on. She reflects on the time Jesus went missing. She had traveled with Joseph back to Jerusalem in search for Jesus, and there they found him in the temple. She asks Jesus why he would scare them like that, and he responds as though she should already know. “Why were you searching for me?…Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (v. 49) That moment was definitely one she hid in her heart. It directly impacts the moment where she finds herself now. At the foot of the cross.

She doesn’t ask why. She already knows. He has to.

And there she found herself…broken at the foot of the cross.
Where so many have found themselves since.
And she reflects on the things that she hid in her heart.
His life. His purpose. The simultaneous metamorphosis.
Once a baby. Now a man. Always a savior.
And she watches the promise of God take place.
Peace. Goodwill. Salvation. Redemption. Hope. Love.

She looked up at the cross.
We look back.

And we realize that the manger was only the beginning.

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