After all the Christmas programs I’ve attended in my lifetime, I’ve mostly memorized Luke’s second chapter. Luke the physician presents a clear and observant narrative. In addition to the birth story, Luke describes the witnesses (1) present following the birth event (shepherds guided by stars and angels to the stable) and (2) in the family’s appearance at the Temple eight days after the birth (Simeon and Anna, both elderly people awaiting the Messiah’s coming).
I’m fascinated by Luke’s description, but the personal story of Mary always draws my focus to her. I’m always amazed at her circumstances − hardly ideal for delivering a child and further complicated because he’s her firstborn. (What does she know about birthing a child? I remember my first birth; it was stressful!) How tranquil she appears to be with every turn of her adventure into the will of God!
As a mom, I believed each of my offspring was pretty special. Not once, however, did a visitor come through the door announcing excitedly that angels had delivered a proclamation about his or her birth. There were no signs and wonders in the sky outside my hospital room. And people who shared each birth event with us were quite ordinary; not a prophet or prophetess in the bunch (as far as I could tell).
Like Mary, with each of my children there were things I “treasured” in my heart. We compiled the baby books, captured first moments in photos, collected congratulatory cards and letters, hospital bracelets … all the usual memorabilia. Of course, this continued through the years of each child’s path into adulthood. But I have no doubt Mary’s treasure was much more compelling than mine.
I wrote this sonnet thinking about those things stored in Mary’s heart treasury. How did she do it? She watched him grow, pondered (like most mothers) his potential future, and in what must have been a terribly excruciating moment for both of them, she found herself standing at the foot of the Cross as Jesus entrusted her into the care of his best friend John. How did she do it? I know it was only by God’s grace she was able to bear it all.
I guess that’s all I need to know.