Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)
Reflection: v. 19, ‘Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart’
As I read Luke’s words I feel the extraordinary excitement of a story that brings angels, shepherds, and new parents together through an inconvenient census and the urging of celestial beings. Between the last minute trip late in Mary’s pregnancy and the couple’s inability to find shelter, to the heavenly chorus that summons shepherds and their resulting surprise visit, there is a lot of action in Luke’s busy birth narrative. That is why it stands out to me that at the end of all these many happenings, it’s as if the story pauses to note that Mary ‘treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.’ In the midst of this grand origin-story style tale, Luke takes a moment to focus on Mary’s response. It is almost as if in the midst of this life-changing, world-changing joyful (but also stressful) chaos, Mary’s feelings mattered. Because they did. If the scene I am describing were a movie, right before this part happens the camera would pan out to really show the grand-scale significance of God-coming-to-be-with-us. Our view would zoom out, out, out past the pilgrimaging shepherds, past the singing angels and their constellations, and all the way along to the vast universes that expand. We would see the endless foreverness of it all and realize the magnitude of God’s majesty. But then the camera would zoom back in. Way back in. It would focus on the face of a poor girl who gave birth out of wedlock and was staying the night in transitional shelter. The camera would focus in on just her, with our suckling, squirming Christ just out of view for the briefest moment. And we would look upon the face of this ordinary poor woman while she held and pondered her words in her heart. And you and I, the viewers of my imaginary film, would think, ‘Oh! She matters! She matters to God! What she thinks and feels in this moment matters!’ Because we ordinary humans matter. The significance of this moment is big and astounding, yes, but it happens in the heart and womb of an ordinary human like you and me. We matter, friends. We matter to God. This is how the God who created the universe and commands choruses of angels comes to be with us: zoomed right in and centered at the margins.
Prayer As we remember your birth, O Lord, help us to remember why it matters: because human beings matter to you.