Archive for April 15th, 2008

Mary’s Story

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Today’s Scripture: Luke 2:8-20 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

The tales surrounding Jesus’ birth are so much a part of our lives that it’s hard to think of them as real. The angels and shepherds make us think of the children in pageants, not of smelly sheep and tired men. In our minds, the manger is a prop, and the baby Jesus a doll.

I know many people who don’t believe these stories happened at all. They say the early disciples made them up to give Jesus an origin story, like DC Comics going back to tell the story of Superman’s birth, only after his comics became popular.

But I see an immediacy in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. These stories hold the sense of awe and wonder that must have captured the people who first experienced them. We can feel the yearning of Mary as she journeys in her last days of pregnancy. We see the joy on the faces of the shepherds as they glorify and praise God. We can almost see the joyful tears of Simeon and Anna.

And then, these passages contain this strange phrase: “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” I believe Luke’s birth narratives carry within them Mary’s story. These are the tales she told friends — the things she pondered in her heart.

It’s possible Mary was still alive when Luke began “investigating everything carefully” (Luke 1:19). More likely, there was a community who remembered her and kept her story alive. Just as we tell the stories of Aunt Martha and Great Grandma, these people remembered how Mary told about going to stay with her cousin Elizabeth to hide her growing belly from the busy-bodies at home. They remembered how her eyes glistened as she told of the shepherds and the prophets who confirmed what she already knew — that this child was special. And, I believe, they told these stories to Luke, who recorded them for us.

Thought for the day: Take some time this week to read Luke chapters 1 and 2 again, thinking of them as Mary’s story. Think about the details that might have come directly from her mouth, and thank God for the woman who treasured these things in her heart.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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