That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.
They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others–the armies of heaven–praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said (Luke 2:8-20).
When I think about this story, I often overlook Mary’s response to all of this. In this story, the shepherds were amazed at this “wonderful thing”. And when the shepherds told the others, they too were “astonished”. There was an incredible atmosphere in Bethlehem. Heaven had touched earth.
And, when we read about how Mary responded, we learn that she “quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Her heart was filled with thoughts of the Messiah, thoughts of Jesus.
It reminds of the carol we sing at this time of year. The carol declares:
Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing.
I love that line, “Let every heart prepare him room.” Is your heart open for the King? Have you prepared him room in your heart? If not, let me encourage you this Christmas week to slow down. Take a break from your hectic schedule of last-minute shopping, wrapping presents, cooking big meals and whatever has so consumed your time.
Prepare room in your heart for him. Take some time as Mary did to quietly treasure this incredible event. Think about it often as she did. Let your heart rejoice at the true meaning of Christmas–Christ was born to redeem your life from destruction.
And when you do, let’s join the angels in declaration: “Glory to God in the highest heaven!”