…How could you know?
And, of course, once again we totally miss the purpose of this annual celebration.
Though often described as a joyful time, in reality it is replete with the madcap shopping style of retail markets, and the incessantly sounding of Christmas songs, ringing bells and weirdly decorated and lit trees.
True. December 25th is not the actual birth date of Jesus and there is no true record of any specific date that we can honor. For various reasons, 12/25 has become “the” date – just like the fourth Thursday of every November has nothing to do with the original Thanksgiving of over 400 years ago but it is a representative and honored choice.
I enjoyed the presentation of Pentatonix singing an acapella version of “Mary Did You Know.” Even though some were upset that they sang a “Christian” song instead of some other secular Christmas tune, the performance made me stop to think about Mary and the question asked in the title of the song…“Mary, did you know…?
In the NT we find there are perhaps as many as six Mary’s mentioned at various times in the gospels. Mary is a modern day version of the old Hebrew name of Miriam, which means “Rebellion or Bitterness.”
Could it be that the sweet Mary we all know and love has a name with a root like this?
Consider the litany of events that happened to her:
- Greeted by Gabriel and given an astonishing message from God
- Living in the realm of a child being born that was not from her espoused husband, Joseph
- Traveling near childbirth time to be properly taxed – how difficult this must be.
- Excruciating pain from the delivery and no reference to a midwife, or a mother, to be with her – only her husband in a stable full of animals.
- Shepherds, Wisemen, Simeon, Anna, Herod – all players in the story that creates wonderment and fear.
- Traveling from homeland to the foreign lands of Egypt to escape.
- Settling back home after Herod dies, but still under the constant thought that if death could occur once, then it could occur again.
- Traveling to Jerusalem with a pre-teen… Hmmmm….
- The start of ministry, first miracle, teachings, arrest, crucifixion…
- The stigma of the cross yet huddling close to the foot of her oldest as he nears death.
- The resurrection. The ascension.
- The Upper Room…
With all the things that happens to Mary, there is one thing that pops clear of scripture and begs me to consider.But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 ESV)
She “treasured up” everything that was going on…
In other words, she stored up all of the experiences and events and put them away in a place of her heart for future consideration.
The amazing thing is that she did not have social media to promote her case and her sufferings. No. All these things were stored up as a treasure. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. Everything was internalized.
Then she pondered them in her heart.
Ponder has been translated into English as “to aid, conferred, encountered, helped, met”. It is often used in conjunction with other words to give reference to something. “To aid” as in helping to war (Luke 14:31). In other words, it is a word that often means to reference something and here Mary referenced the treasures of her heart.
What did Mary know?
After the Upper Room we hear nothing more of Mary. No place of honor in the new church. She completed what she was called upon to do and fades into a history story that we find in the pages of the Bible and on the stage of the world as a bit part.
But there is something deep I get from her story.
We are often rocked with bad news and questionable actions of life. We rocket the news to everyone who will listen. We challenge others to take up our cause. Our emotions are ridden like a roller coaster – up, down, twisting, upside down. Crazy responses to everything around us!
But Mary treasured up the events of her life. And pondered them in her heart.
She valued all of the experiences and relived them in her heart.
What a valuable lesson!
Makes me appreciate her all the more as a representative of faith and responsible living…