On what happens next
Christmas is mostly over, the fridge can close easily, presents unwrapped and our family at least is about to head home.
What about Mary though? We think of her travelling whilst heavily pregnant, the suffering of labour and then the joy of meeting her son. Now, the shepherds are home and she has a tiny newborn baby to look after.
The nights will be as long as the days till she finds herself in a sleepy haze. She will learn patience as she learns to feed and sustain a new life, the new prince of peace. I don’t think Mary is in any doubt as to the importance of her baby; ‘the child to be born will be called Holy- the son of God.’ Just as we aren’t in any doubt as to the return of Jesus. But like Mary, who didn’t know that Jesus would long to be in his fathers house, we don’t know the details of the return of Jesus. We don’t know what it will feel like to be a great cloud of witnesses. Mary didn’t know she would be at times rejected by her son.
We do know that she treasured these things in her heart. And we can do the same. The things we do know, the promises given to Abraham and all generations after we can treasure. Mary settled into the work of caring for her newborn but pondered the words of the shepherds. Likewise, we can step into the daily rhythms of mealtimes and work and all the distractions of a busy life. But in our hearts we can lift our minds above the mundane and delight in the abundant mercy of God; a baby born in Bethlehem.
P.S. Always writing things down leaves me with more questions than I started with. Not life changing, doctrinal questions, but ones I’d chat with Mary about over a cuppa. Did her husbands family travel too? Did she have midwives or family females helping her at the birth? Surely somebody found more help than just a first time Dad? Did they set up a business in Bethlehem and move it to Egypt via a quick visit to dedicate Jesus at Jerusalem? Or did they go home to Nazareth sooner, then to Egypt? Who helped her with baby Jesus or was she alone? What was Jesus like as a baby? How did she teach him?
Based on Luke Chapter 2.