But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
Our staff was challenged this past week with what anxieties and stresses Mary might have faced in her unique situation—pregnant, young, unmarried and living in an orthodox Jewish society—and how she handled them. Responses ranged from the frivolous, “Finding catering and wedding flowers in a strange place and the possibility of a shotgun wedding,” to real concerns such as having a baby without a mother or family members to help. After all, this was a young teenager who’d never been a mother, much less, the mother of Emmanuel, God with us.
The text in Luke (2:19, 51) provides insight to the strength that would carry Mary to Bethlehem, home to Nazareth, Jerusalem, various parts of Galilee, and finally to Golgotha: Mary treasured…these things and pondered them in her heart. What things might Mary have treasured? First, there was the visit from the angel Gabriel who announced that she would bear God’s Son and then the joyous affirmation by her cousin Elisabeth at her impromptu visit, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:44)
In wonder, Mary would gather the memories that would flood her young heart and carry her through a lifetime of awe and suffering with her child, Messiah. She would be amazed at the coming of the shepherds and their tale of angels announcing the birth of their Savior and later as the distinguished visitors from the East recounted their miraculous tale of following a star to find the new King.
Mary would marvel when the Baby Jesus was presented at the temple for two elderly people there would give thanks to God for allowing them to see the promised child. Old Simeon even said,
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
When he became an adolescent, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem … and discovered on their return trip that Jesus wasn’t with the group. When they located him back at the temple, how baffled she was at the rapport her Son had with the scribes and teachers. Another wonder to treasure in her heart.
We don’t know all the signs and miracles Mary witnessed during Jesus’ short life, but we know she saw him turn water into wine and must have seen healings and transformations that came from Jesus’ ministry. After all, John said (21:25) that “if every one of [Jesus’ works] were written down…even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” So all these things Mary treasured in her heart. And she pondered them. What did they mean and how would it all turn out?
At the cross Mary lived out a mother’s most severe pain, the unjust suffering and death of her precious Son. This would be the time for Mary to look inside her heart at all those treasures she had been storing—the miracles, the wonders, the promises. And these would be the things that would sustain her through that Black Friday night and those incredibly long days that followed.
But on the third day, “…blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises…” Mary would again see an angel, this time sitting on a stone inside her Son’s tomb with another message of Good News, “He is not here; he is risen.” And she would see her Son again, alive and glorified and ascending to his Father. Those promises she had remembered and trusted would carry her to Pentecost and on to see her Son, her Emmanuel, throughout eternity.
“…blessed is she who…believed.”
Father, give us just a modicum of the faith of Mary that we may follow you always until we, too, see you in eternity. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.