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Christmas: A Lot to Think About
By Rick Ezell
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19 NIV).
Mary had a lot to think about.
Did you ever think about what it would be like to be chosen for a special, but very difficult task?
Mary was living in the midst of biological impossibilities. This alone gave Mary plenty to think about. For the reputation of having a child outside the bond of marriage was going to follow her. And though the message comes from God, and the cause is His intervention, who is going to believe you?
Did you ever think about what it would be like to be compelled to take a trip when you are in your ninth month of pregnancy?
God moves in interesting ways. The Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem, but Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. So God prepares the way by having Rome do a census. Everyone has to go to his or her town of origin. For Joseph and Mary, this was Bethlehem. I am sure to them, this was hardly good news. Who wants to take a 90 mile trip just to satisfy an emperor's whim? And who wants to do it when you are expecting a child? And on top of that, they both probably walked. They were probably too poor to afford a donkey (even though it is often pictured this way).
When they finally made it to Bethlehem, they would be absolutely exhausted. What happens then? No room is found in the inn.
Did you ever think about what it would be like to be rejected when you are about to give birth?
Can you imagine taking a trip to the hospital, get to the entrance, and they say, "Sorry, we are full"? You can't imagine that, can you? But for Joseph and Mary, when they arrived, there was no place for them to go. Labor had begun; the pains were beginning. And for this couple, so far away from home, it had to seem like nothing was going right. This was like one disaster after another. They could do without these kinds of adventures.
Did you ever think about what it would be like to give birth in a stable?
We don't know how they ended up in the stable. We don't know if it belonged to the inn or they found it some other way. Nevertheless, the birthplace for Jesus was a place where animals were kept. Whether it was a barn or a cave, we don't know, though in that area the latter was more common. Regardless, it would be smelly and damp. And it is here; our Savior makes his way through the birth canal, and is born.
I almost to hesitate to tell you, but the line "No crying he makes" in the hymn has no biblical basis. Jesus probably cried a lot, like most babies. And did all the things that babies do. Even the yucky, disgusting things. Yet at the same time...
Did you ever think about what it would be like to be parents to the perfect child?
I have come across parents that think their children are perfect. And I have known some children that acted like they were perfect. But when Joseph and Mary gazed into the eyes of Jesus, they were looking at divine eyes. And when they kissed him, they kissed the face of God.
There was much for Mary to think about, because though she bore this child, the baby did not belong to her. She really belonged to Him!
Did you ever think about what it would be like to be visited by common ordinary shepherds?
Just a few miles away in Jerusalem was Herod's magnificent temple. So, doesn't it seem that a king should have come? Or how about the high priests and those that served in that temple?
Shouldn't they have come? After all, this is the King of kings.
But who comes? The common, ordinary, and in the eyes of many, the unworthy. Shepherds were viewed as unclean and unfit. And they are the first visitors.
Mary had to think, why are they the first?
I see it simply as this-The uncommon comes to the common to identify with us.
Did you ever think about what it would be like to hear that you are not alone?
Sometimes, we believe that we are facing what we are facing alone. Mary and Joseph may have felt like that, but they soon found out that they were not alone. They were not the only ones to know about their son. God had provided for them spiritual companionship. These shepherds know this baby is the Savior. . This is the Messiah, the Lord.
Mary has all the verification she needs. The shepherds have the sign right. Jesus was in the manger and who expects a baby to be in a manger? This was no coincidence.
For Mary, she had to see that in the midst of all these crazy circumstances that God was in it. And now, God was in her heart. In one transcendent moment, Mary came to realize something. Mary's mind may have been flooded with questions, but one questioned was answered. The question: Who was this baby boy? The answer: The Savior of the world. From that day forward Mary took Jesus in her heart.
Mary treasured all these things in her heart. Will you? He is God, who died for you. Jesus is a heart thing. It is not enough to see him and talk to him. It's not enough to know him. It's not enough to understand him. We must treasure him in our hearts.
Copyright 2012, Rick Ezell