"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. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
What is your response when you encounter Jesus? Not necessarily a conversation, but when something in your life clearly suggests that Jesus is at work, or you read a verse of Scripture and find it striking.
Maybe your response is similar to mine—I anxiously share my experiences with those around me. I find myself telling those close to me what is happening in my life, processing it with them, and then often moving on quickly. And if i’m being honest, this habit is not reflective in the slightest.
In the Gospel Reading Plan for March 19th, we read about the witness of shepherds in Luke 2:8-20. In the passage Luke shares that after meeting Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, the shepherds “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” (v17) and says that “they returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (v20). In reading this passage, I thought about how I would have responded to meeting Jesus.
Let’s walk through it:
An angel appears to you while you are watching your flock of sheep during the night. A great company of the heavenly host also appears, praising God. You then go to Bethlehem and you meet the Messiah and Savior.
Their response I can understand. I feel like I would be so overwhelmed and in shock by Jesus’ presence that I couldn’t help but praise God and share what I had seen and heard with others.
But what about Mary? Verse 19 tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”. Let’s catch up on what has happened to Mary so far:
She had been told that she would give birth to a son and that he would be the Savior of the world.
She delivers the baby and now a flock of angels and shepherds come to see her. Unlike the shepherds, she couldn’t go around proclaiming Jesus’ birth because there was a King who had given the order to have him killed. But her response is something I think we can all learn from.
"She treasured up all of these things", "she pondered them in her heart". How wonderful a response! To sit, to reflect, to understand the gift that had been given to her. To equally glorify God like the shepherds were doing but to do so by sitting with her Lord and simply being still. There are times to share, to proclaim, and to go, but there are also times to sit, to treasure, and to ponder what God is doing.
There is a level of maturity of faith in Mary that I hope to emulate. Mary quite literally sat and waited on the Lord. My response to life is to go, go, go. But sometimes there are lessons I am missing by neglecting to sit, to treasure, and to reflect. When I fail to do these things, I miss out on the opportunity to grow in intimacy with God and to understand more fully the work he is doing.
Now in reflecting on Mary, I think of when life spurs anxiety, when situations seem overwhelming, or when relationships are messy. Even during times of clear providential goodness, awareness of God’s grace, or when his love for me is abundantly clear, I wonder what it would look like for my response to change. What would it look like for me to treasure up these things and ponder them in my heart? How would this level of reflection change me?
We are spending this year reading through all of the Gospels as we seek to know and understand Jesus deeper. It's never too late to jump in and read along with us! If you would like to share your experience reading the Gospel Reading Plan, email our Content Coordinator, Katie Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harrison Porter has been attending Summit for over two years. He serves in Base Camp leading the 2nd and 3rd grade boys at the Herndon Campus, is on the First Impressions Team, and serves as one of our volunteer writers. He is an Orlando native, works raising philanthropic support for Orlando Health, and really really really loves Beefy King and afternoon naps.