When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Simple lives, these shepherds lead. Watching and walking, guiding and guarding. Nothing unexpected until the night when all heaven breaks loose, and they find themselves with ring-side seats.
Peace on Earth. How often they must have replayed that heavenly chorus in their minds as they walked among their sheep.
Joy to the World. How their hearts must have leaped in hope each time they gazed into the starry expanse.
A Child is Born. How dream-like it all must have seemed… and didn’t he have the most angelic face?
But what exactly do you do with such an experience?
Well, to start with, you share what’s happened.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I mean, seriously, how could you not? One minute you’re counting sheep and the next, a heavenly flash mob is exploding in joy all around you – and it all checks out: the mother, the child, and the manger, “just like the angels said!”
This heavenly peek-a-boo must have rocked their world.
But Time has its way of marching monotonously on, and I wonder how long it took for All Hopes Shiny to fade to the black of “What now?”
And what now indeed?
You’ve seen, you’ve heard, and you’ve shared… Do you go to synagogue more? Do you offer up a few more sheep? Do you sell all you own, and hang out on the sidelines of Bethlehem?
And what about tomorrow? and next week?
and the week after that
and all the months that limp into decades?
What do you do when Fear creep deep beneath your covers, because, after all
… shouldn’t he be grown and saving us by now?
Life is amazing.
But it is not always easy.
It can often be downright hard to navigate the Here and Now
when shiny glimpses of heaven become the lusterless There and Then,
when Dreams fall in heaps like ill-fitting clothing around our ankles,
when looking up to see beyond the Black, only leaves us with stiff necks and chills aching to the soul.
What exactly do you do
when everything in you aches for the sound of heaven’s voice
just. one. more. time.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Mary- the highly favored, “be it done unto me,” chosen Mother of God – took her visions and her memories – and every heavenly sign and wonder she had ever seen – and she packed them carefully away – right beside the frankincense and myrrh. Treasures for a rainy day.
She raised a baby.
So what do we do when God’s promises collide with the ticking of the clock? We take our cues from Mary and we live.
We treasure Life and the everyday wonder it is.
We welcome the sunrise, and put the stars to sleep.
We change the diapers,
and kiss the boo boos.
We go to work
and clean feet
and love those along our path.
We muddle through interviews and taxes and doctor visits.
We pull weeds
and plant happiness.
Sometimes we hold our breath; and sometimes we whoop and holler.
Sometimes we cry and rent our hearts; and sometimes we dance without shame before our King.
In all ways, we “love mercy, act justly and walk humbly.”
We fall on our knees with every good gift, and through every long night that doesn’t explode in Hallelujahs. We treasure the promise of Hope and Majesty, and a heavenly choir still belting it out about our Savior… just beyond the dark.
And everyday we ponder the reality that He is enough.
He is Peace enough
and Joy-to-our-World enough
and Goodwill-to-Man enough
is treasure enough
to ponder forever.
Jesus, if I am only moved and driven by desire for more and more of the latest and greatest, sky-opening “ooh’s,” then maybe I’ve missed the point.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?”
Maybe it’s time to ask, “If the sky were never to open again for me in this life… would who you are be revelation enough to last me this lifetime?” Lord, may my heart and my soul always answer yes.