“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, NIV).
Mary remembered all the things that had happened and thought through them many times. This is what mothers do – Mary was just like many mothers. Mothers look both backwards and forwards, both remembering their children in the past and anticipating who and what they will become in the future.
I remember a little girl who rode in the U-Haul truck with her dad while I drove the car when we moved from Louisiana to New York. I remember another little girl who, after I became exasperated with her, would look at me and say, “I love you mommy.” I remember putting 10th and 11th graders on a plane for a three-month exchange trip to Quebec and realizing that things at home would never be the same. And I remember driving away from a university campus leaving a daughter in tears and feeling like my heart had been ripped out because I had to leave her behind.
Mary would have remembered the birth of her son and the strange visitors who appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. She would have remembered having to deliver her child in a stable or cave. She would have remembered the visits of shepherds who told a story of an angel choir. Later, she would have remembered the visits of the magi and the extravagant gifts they brought.”
This is what mothers do – they treasure these memories and think about them from time to time. But mothers also look forward, anticipating the future for their children.
I remember wondering what those same girls would become – would they be doctors, teachers, lawyers? Would they live close to us or far away? Would they marry and have children? Would they continue to be Christ-followers? I still wonder what the next steps in their life adventures will be.
Like all mothers, Mary would have had no idea of the next steps in her son’s life – that He would walk on water and calm storms – that He would help the blind to see and the deaf to hear. Mark Lowry expressed the full range of this thought in his song, “Mary, did you know?” when he asked, “Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation … did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?”
As mothers we have great aspirations for our children and will do everything we can to shield them from pain and hurt. Mary was no different – except that “the sleeping child [she was] holding [was] the Great I Am.”