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.
Luke 2: 17 – 20
The shepherds visiting Jesus in the stable block that very first Christmas were the first ordinary people to witness the good news of the Saviour’s birth after the angel had told them of this great event happening in Bethlehem. Imagine their sense of awe and wonder (and privilege) as they left the stable singing praises to God and to be the first to share the story with those all around them. Visualise too – in your mind’s eye – all those who were hearing this amazing news from the shepherds for the first time.
Yet, in the midst of all this excitement the central figure of Mary, the mother of Jesus, was still absorbing the enormity of what the shepherds had told her and wondered what lay ahead of her. We can only speculate the questions going through her head at that crucial moment.
Why me Lord; why send these ordinary shepherds to tell me of my son’s destiny; why, if I’m to be the mother of the Messiah, offer a crude cradle for the birth of my precious baby. Questions as she “pondered them in her heart” (as the authorised version of the bible puts it) that would be answered as she grew older and seeing the whole astounding picture unfold in front of her.
Prayer: Father, I like the way you used the ordinary people – the shepherds – to convey the extraordinary news of Jesus’s birth as Saviour of the world. Help me too Lord Jesus, as an ordinary person, to find new ways to be excited by your birth and to ponder in my heart the gift of salvation that you so freely offered. Amen
Action: As we celebrate the days following the birth of Christ perhaps in more restricted ways this year, take time to remember that nothing really has changed since that first Christmas!