“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
When shepherds arrived at that dirty stable, full of news of angels and singing and a promise, Luke tells us that everyone who heard was amazed, but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
I expect that there were lots of days over the next 30 years when she had to sit and think about those memories that she had held onto like treasure, back in that ramshackle stable amongst the animals and the straw and the filth, as she held her new baby: Emmanuel, God With Us.
Perhaps on the day when she and her husband and her tiny baby visited the temple and made a sacrifice of doves instead of a lamb, because that was all they could afford.
Perhaps on the days when they ran from home and lived as refugees in Egypt; strangers in a foreign land so that her son wouldn’t be killed by a jealous king.
Perhaps when they returned home, but people still whispered behind her back. ‘Oh that’s Mary, you know, the one who said that her baby was from God.’
I wonder though, was she able to remember that treasure on Friday, as she stood on a hill outside Jerusalem and watched her baby, now a man, get lifted up on a cross? Was she able to remember as she saw the pain on his face, or heard the crowds hurl insults at him?
Did she remember the promises? Did she understand? Did she know what was going on? Did she hear his last words and know that they were a cry of victory, and not defeat? Or was it only later when it all made sense? When she saw that though he was her son, her baby; he was also her Maker, her Saviour, her Bridegroom.
I can’t ever get my head around Good Friday. Because it is good. Death swallowed up, captives freed, people rescued, perfect blood shed, curtain torn in two, sin defeated, the way opened. But, it’s only good because of Sunday, and even though we know how the story ends, and we wait, certain that Sunday will come, I can’t help but put myself in Mary’s shoes, and wonder how she felt. Did she know, or remember, or just have a tiny, wee, shard of hope that this was not the end?
In summary: waiting.