But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart ...'
* * *
This is when we are invited to step away from our ordinary routines. So that we can fully step into His extraordinary story.
For some, this venturing away from business as usual happens gradually, almost imperceptibly. For others, it requires a clear decision made that invites the possibility of a holy awe to settle in and over and somewhere deep within our beings.
We ponder the story of the birth of the Holy One, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
And His young God-chosen mother.
For Mary is living out an unbelievable holy saga as her simply unexplainable pregnancy and the scandal that surely swirled around her take on a life of their own.
The grueling journey by some beast of burden takes place in her final days of pregnancy. At their assigned destination, does panic descend as she realizes that there is not a decent room to be had?
And what does she do with the stark realization that she and Joseph will be settling into an animal shelter, a shed jam-packed with an assortment of creatures whose owners have also joined the town's throngs?
As labor pains begin to grip her body with a burning frequency, the surreal reality hits her and her husband-to-be. Her birthing suite would be right in the midst of manure-littered straw with cumbersome, noisy animals staring as they chomped on their feed ... and no woman friend or relative to gently guide her to the culmination of this, her virgin birth.
The Spirit who brought Jesus into her womb never leaves her side as she delivers the Son of God into a fallen world that's just as messy as the shed in which He took His first earthly breaths.
Miraculously, the Spirit quiets her young wise soul even as the Holy Child's first visitors include a random assortment of shepherds and more than a few curious bystanders who've caught wind of this unusual sacred drama. The ragtag company heads off in awe to spread the incredible heavenly news.
And Mary is somehow able to pause. In the midst of all that has swirled around her in a short period of time, she gently rests with her Savior-Baby and processes all that has happened. Does she once again offer up those early pregnancy praises recorded in Luke's first chapter? Or does she simply contemplate her own private thoughts during these first hours with the Son of God in her arms, at her breast?
Fast forward a couple thousand years.
In the midst of our own whirlwind of emotions, travel plans, unexpected circumstances, glorious surprises, and deepest disappointments, we, too, are offered a compelling invitation to lay aside all that's ordinary and dwell on the sacred extraordinary. We, who have been offered eternal hope and everlasting joy, are invited to ponder the remarkably glorious news that Jesus Christ is born. And meditate, once again, on the miracle of our salvation and promise of heaven for those who claim Him as their own.
Just like the young virgin mother did all those generations ago.
I'm heeding that winsome invitation to take a bit of a break from business as usual. Sweetest Advent blessings to you, my friends. Be sure that I'll see you a bit further down the road ...
Comfort & Joy ~