What Was Mary Thinking?

How many times have we heard the Christmas story? Hopefully, at least once every year of our life, right? We know Mary was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, that she and Joseph traveled to the City of David for the census, and that the Bethlehem Holiday Inn was booked, so Jesus was born in a stable and slept in a manger, a lowly state for the King of kings.

We know nearby shepherds were visited by angels and left their flocks to go see the baby Savior and spread the word about what the angels had told them. And we’ve heard about the wise men who came bearing gifts of great value.

But there is one thing I don’t know.

Every time I hear the Christmas story, one sentence captures me. It’s often the last line read in the story. However, in my experience, the line has never been a point of emphasis or teaching. But I think there must be something very important in this line. Why else would Luke include this at the end of the Christmas story?

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  

(Luke 2:19 NIV)

All these things? Let’s see…she just gave birth to the Savior of the world, the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. That’s a lot of things.

And who was she that she should treasure all these? A poor, socially insignificant, unwed, young virgin who was chosen for the highest calling imaginable. But the calling did not come without risk. Not only was her reputation at stake, but according to Jewish law, she could have been stoned to death for being with child before she was married.

And so…all these things…she pondered in her heart.

I want to know…what was Mary thinking? What was silently churning in her mind as she swaddled this baby, who is the Messiah but who is also her first-born, her child?

I acutely remember the moment my first-born was placed in my arms. The intensity of love that washed over me was so unexpected, so indescribable, so unlike any love I had ever felt before. And in that moment, God’s love for me was defined in a new way–because now I had a reference point to help me understand how much more my heavenly Father must love me–and how much He loved His own Son…the one He sent to die a brutal death on a cross. For me. How? If He loved His Son like I love my daughters, how? Because He loves us that much more…

So here’s Mary, with all this love for her little baby, pondering things in her heart…not posting pics on her Facebook page:

“The most perfect baby EVER.”


No, Mary kept “all these things” close to her, humbly, obediently. After all the shame and ridicule she must have endured, all the whispers and glances that followed her throughout the pregnancy, she had every reason to be anything but humble. She earned an “in-your-face!” attitude. But instead, she treasured up all these things.

And I wonder…was there something else Mary pondered? What did Mary know as she adored the newborn Messiah in the manger? Was an alarm going off inside that special place mothers have in their hearts where they just know? Even if she didn’t know exactly what, did she sense something about the next 33 years and how they would end? I cannot imagine holding my tiny newborn, the very essence of love and innocence, while my momma heart sensed the beginning of an undeserved, heart-shattering future.

So what was Luke thinking? When he was inspired to write that line–Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart–what was his intention? Why is that part of the Christmas story? It feels important…and I don’t want to miss it.

So maybe as we celebrate this Christmas season so many centuries after that first holy night, maybe we can “treasure up all these things” and ponder a little ourselves as we remember the true meaning of that little baby’s birth and the momma whose humility and obedience are a model for all mommas.

May your family have a blessed

and holy Christmas!

What Christmas tradition does your family enjoy? When my girls were little, I made a boot print stencil out of cardboard and used it to sprinkle Carpet Fresh footprints from the door to the Christmas tree. The girls were so excited to see Santa’s magic snow! That tradition ended, but we still continue to read the Christmas story on Christmas morning. I love hearing the different ways families make memories during this time of year! Please share yours in the comments below!

Here is a link to the Christmas story in Luke with the shepherds and the Christmas story in Matthew with the wise men. Enjoy them with your family!


The MOM Journey News

The MOM Journey is taking a break for the holidays. Let’s meet back in 2017…and talk about NOT making resolutions in the new year!


1 Comment

  1. Vicki Brunk says:

    Since my children were young, our family spent Christmas eve eating all those snack-like foods you should never eat! Then we’d play games surrounded with laughter and banter. The next morning the kids always got up early and we’d read the Christmas story and open gifts. Now we continue the tradition with slight changes. The grandkids and parents come and the biggest change is that we have added a Christmas morning brunch with extended family invited. It allows each of them to go to their in-laws on Christmas day. Simple, but sweet!

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