Mary (3)

Adoration of the shepherds, by Carlo Crivelli (1490, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg)

Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:19.

Mary’s Son, who had been conceived by the Holy Ghost had been born. He was to be “great … and called the Son of the Highest” and would “sit on the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32.33). Under what circumstances, however, did the birth occur? It was indeed in Bethlehem, the city of David, but in truly undignified conditions, “because there was no room for them in the inn”. Was Mary able to preserve her faith in such humiliating circumstances? Wasn’t it too much for her that she had to lay this child in a manger?

God did not leave her in any doubt, however. He again sent an angel to announce that this newborn Child was indeed the “Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (v.11). This time the announcement was made, not to Mary, but to shepherds guarding their flocks in the fields. After this sign they became the first witnesses of the incarnation. Through them the message of great joy was passed on, even to Mary and Joseph.

Are we able to grasp the excitement arising through these events? We become aware of the way revelation and mystery merge incomprehensibly and mark the entire pathway of Jesus on this earth. Heaven was to open above Him; yet He went on, ever rejected, even to the point of being abandoned by God in the three hours of darkness. Mary may have imagined something of all this, as she pondered over what had happened in her heart. But we have all the more reason to be affected by God’s “unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15) from the incarnation to the atoning death of His Son.

Image: By Carlo Crivelli – Own work Ji-Elle 2011-03-10, CC BY-SA 3.0,