So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Most of our artistic images of Mary show her as a serene and peaceful young woman, prayerful and holy as she focuses on Jesus. Mary is certainly a model of holiness and prayer, but I wonder how serene and peaceful she felt after giving birth in a stable and being visited by a strange group of shepherds, who were not known to be the cleanest people of the time. Even 2000 years ago, this was likely not the norm for a new mother.
After hearing what the shepherds had to say, she didn’t simply dismiss the words as something she didn’t understand or didn’t believe. Instead she “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” What a lesson that can be for all of us. When faced with a message that is unusual, not what we expect, or even something we disagree with, are we able to take the words and ponder them, rather than dismissing them out of hand? If we treasured the words and thoughts of others, perhaps we would find some of the peace and joy we see in images of Mary.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.