The Rev. Peter A. Lane
“But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Do you have a favorite part of these holy seasons of Advent and Christmas? Perhaps it’s the music, or the festive lights, sending Christmas cards, or setting up and decorating the tree. When my kids were young, we would go to a local tree farm to cut our tree. They also happened to be the folks we bought our two collies from, and so every year when we went to cut our tree our collies would come along and reunite with their collie family. It was a wonderful part of preparing for Christmas.
All our beloved traditions create a rich environment for celebrating the wonder and mystery of God’s incarnation in the birth of Jesus. The lights, music, decorations, and festivities remind us that something very special is happening. They grab our attention and invite us to be on the lookout for signs of the wonder of Christmas, the presence of God.
The first Christmas was also ushered in by some extraordinary signs – the guiding star, angel visitations, a heavenly choir all announced the good news of the birth of God’s only Son, a savior for the world God loves so deeply. It is an extraordinary miracle worthy of extraordinary signs.
But eventually those signs disappeared. Soon the Christmas music, lights, trees, and presents will all be packed up and put away. All the outward and visible/audible signs of the wonder and mystery of the incarnation of God will disappear until next November or December (unless you work at Robert’s Christmas Wonderland on Gulf to Bay Blvd!). So, the challenge for us is how do we continue to remain alert for God’s presence in our lives when all the outward signs have been packed away?
Blessed Mary provides us the way, doesn’t she? Not only did Mary physically carry and make possible the incarnation of God through the miracle of childbirth, but she also continued to carry the wonder and miracle of it all as a precious treasure that continually nurtured and strengthened and encouraged her long after the angels had stopped singing. Our yearly celebration of the Incarnation is a wonderful moment in time and gives us a chance to give thanks for the ongoing reality of God’s presence in our lives 365 days of the year.
May this Christmas not only renew your sense of thanksgiving but encourage you to treasure all the ways God’s grace, mercy and love are made manifest in and through your life. We all have a lot to ponder.
A very blessed Christmas to you all.