“And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” -Luke 2:51
Mary had much more to ponder than most mothers. After all, she was the only virgin out of all mothers to conceive a son without the help of a man. I rather think all of us are most interested in hearing Mary’s story of what it was like for her to bear and rear Jesus, the very Son of God. She had to be wondering what to expect at and after His birth when the angel Gabriel told her in advance about her miraculous conception from heaven.
We know that Mary had meditated on many things during her rather normal pregnancy, improving her pondering skills as Jesus’ birth moved ever closer. She must have wondered greatly about what raising such a son would truly entail. She could not rely totally on the experience of other mothers and fathers knowing her Son was unique from any other. There was no book to read on what it would be like to raise the Son of God from an infant to a child, a teenager, and young adult.
Luke tells us several times explicitly that Mary treasured in her heart experiences concerning Jesus and pondered them deeply in her mind. She, like so many other mothers, would never forget them, especially those out-of-the-ordinary things she saw and heard, but also the glory in the ordinary. I believe these all had to be sanctifying moments for Mary in her own redemptive and sanctifying journey, for Mary was a sinner just like the rest of us.
I do not think either Joseph or Mary had contemplated much about the concept of sinlessness since no other person was or had ever been sinless, nor do I think they knew how to discipline a sinless child. However, they knew what was expected of other believing Jewish parents before them and during Jesus’ childhood, so I imagine they naturally thought discipline was expected whether Jesus required it or not. He didn’t, but Jesus was obedient to His parents because of His sinless character and His intentional, willing purpose to fulfill all righteousness as a pure Lamb to be slain for our sin.
Most parents of multiple children are usually amazed at the different personalities of those children and whether one is harder to rear than another. It is a constant reflective moment as well as a quandary while parents try to reason through the natural bent of their respective children. Mary must have pondered also about her other children concerning those differences between Jesus, her first, and the harder difficulties with her and Joseph’s biological children.
We only receive a few glimpses of Mary in the Gospel accounts which focus majorly on Jesus and His ministry and teaching. The experience of her finding Jesus at the temple, the wedding at Cana, at the foot of Jesus’ cross, and the ascension of Jesus and the upper room after the ascension covers most of what we know from Scripture. We are told of a godly woman who loved her Son, a woman who was courageous, graceful, and humble. She was one who believed her God and her Lord, and she was blessed among all women who ever lived. We honor her as the mother of our Lord!
Please follow Mary’s example this Advent and Christmas season, reserving the time in the busyness of it all to ponder deeply these well-known events as they concern you, your salvation, and your relationship with the Wonder of the Ages, Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior. You, too, can increase your pondering skills as Mary did and truly be ready when your greatest treasure returns!
“God of God, Light of Light, Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb. Very God, begotten not created. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
(Second verse of anonymous hymn, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” 18th Century)
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