“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Luke 2:16-19, NIV
The first Christmas Day was an extraordinary event! Whoever before had heard of a virgin having a baby? It’s just not possible. And then a host of angels bursting through the clouds to sing to a group of shepherds about a special baby being born in Bethlehem? The shepherds were then treated to a grand-stand view of an extraordinary angelic chorus. And they dutifully obeyed their instructions and went to find the baby the angels had sung about.
I am sure that Mary was not expecting visitors in the improvised maternity wing of the local hostelry! That should have been a time for privacy, rest and recovery. But God had other intentions. Mary needed to know that what the Angel Gabriel had spoken to her all those months ago was not just something between her and God. The news was out and God sent along a bunch of the most unlikely, and probably very uneducated, men on the planet to tell Mary what they had just seen and witness the extraordinary event.
Those shepherds could have had no ulterior motive whatsoever. They couldn’t have made it up. They were simple people and they reported to Mary and Joseph exactly what they had seen, and in simple obedience became the first external witnesses to the reality of what had happened. This was undoubtedly God at work.
Mary had a lot to think about that night as she nurtured and fed her Son. No wonder the Scripture tells us that she pondered these things in her heart. Gabriel had said that the baby she would bear would be “called the Son of God”. And now God had sent a great company of angels to confirm what Gabriel had told her nine months previously. There was no escaping the amazing truth that this baby she was looking at in the manger was God’s Son.
I have been freshly impacted this Christmas by the extraordinary truth that the baby conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit was indeed the Son of God. His prophetic name was Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’. His New Testament name, Jesus, means ‘Saviour from sin’. The babe of Bethlehem truly is God my Saviour!
May I encourage you this Christmas to ponder these extraordinary truths in your own heart afresh. And in the midst of the giving and receiving of presents, thank God for His gift to a broken and sin-stained world – His own Son – and then welcome Him into your own heart and life. What you ponder will then become treasure of eternal value.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the extraordinary gift of Your Son. As I ponder this amazing truth I want to thank You afresh for the Saviour of the world and for Mary’s obedience in saying Yes to God. Help me, Lord, to follow Mary’s example and always say Yes to those things that You ask me to do. In Jesus Name, Amen.