Week two of our study of the book of Luke is underway here on the Bible blog. I hope you’re excited, I know I am. One thing that has really blessed me so far in this journey through Luke is focusing on Mary. I don’t know that I’ve ever given deep thought or focus to her and the Bible verses surrounding her before, so it’s been really cool to slow down and meditate on who she was, what she did, the way she did it, and all the things we can learn from her. So we are actually going to be looking at Mary for one more day.
As we join her today, she’s given birth to baby Jesus. A lot of really cool things happened upon the birth of Jesus, and one of them happened to some shepherds who were near Bethlehem.
Luke 2:8-14 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
That’ll shake up your evening, right there. So the shepherds do what any sane human would do, they rushed over to Bethlehem and saw the newborn Messiah.
2:17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
I love the fact that when he was less than a few days old, Jesus and all the heavenly power that surrounds him was already inspiring regular people to go and tell other people about him. But, I want to focus on what happens next, and what Mary’s response was to all of this.
2:18-19 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Mary was certainly just as astonished and moved by the whole situation, but I love the way it points out what she did. She took this magical situation, this amazing miracle of God, and she stored it up in her heart. Why is that important to do? Well, for a lot of reasons, but what really came to me as I studied was because we need a reservoir to draw from sometimes.
Not every day is a “miracle on high” sorta day. I’m sure we can all agree on that. I’ve had God move mightily and majorly in my life. I’ve been healed, blessed beyond measure, delivered from lifelong afflictions, but there are a lot of days when those things don’t happen. Sometimes I get bad sleep and get yelled at while at my job and get my feelings hurt by a friend and forget to do something I said I was gonna do and overcook my dinner and break my favorite mug and crawl into bed way too late feeling pretty unhappy with my day. And that’s the moment when it’s imperative to learn from Mary. It is imperative that you make a special storehouse in your heart for the big and major moves of God, a special vault for the memories, so that on those days when you aren’t feeling it, on those days when you have to search for a reason to praise, you don’t ever forget that there are a multitude of past reasons.
I’ve got a friend who’s been going through a challenging time in life right now. The other morning I was praying for them and God really impressed some things on me about them. God said “look how lucky they are”. And that’s very like God to completely look past the troubles of today and draw your eye to the many blessings of yesterday and the endless blessings on the horizon. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about the troubles of today, but it does mean that God knows that focusing on the two or four or nine problems today should never overtake our thankfulness for the hundreds of blessings of yesterday and the gifts and promises that are going to make our tomorrows amazing. These reminders also help us remember the ways that God moved in the past, that there were problems before that He solved, and He is certainly capable of doing it again.
Being the mother of the savior of the world is a tall order. Mary couldn’t possibly have understood everything that was going to happen in life with Jesus, but she was incredibly wise. She knew there were going to be challenges ahead. Heck, she’d just had her baby in a place where the animals fed and Jesus was laying in an animal feeding trough (that’s what a manger is). She was already living a challenge. But she had stored something special in her heart, a memory of the miracle move of God. And the Bible tells us that she thought of the birth of Jesus often.
Some days are slow or challenging or dry and vague. It’s up to you to follow Mary’s example and have a deep reservoir of moments and memories to revisit when needed. For me, I write things down so I can physically go back and read and remember the times when God has moved mightily in and around me. Make it a point to hold tight to these memories, because you will need them at some point in your life. It’s important not to fall into doubt during tough times, and having the reminders in our heart of what God has done is a key in not falling into that. God’s every bit as good and faithful during the drought as He is during the bountiful harvest.
That’s it for today. I love all of you very much. I’m having a wonderful time with the book of Luke and I hope you’re all enjoying it as well. If you have any prayer requests or questions or just wanna talk about faith and God, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.