That was the title for this morning’s sermon, based on Luke 2:15-22. My way in was through drawing the same parallel between our disrupted Christmas and the disruption Mary and Joseph faced just as Mary’s due date became imminent which I considered in yesterday’s post.
Then, after reading the passage, I gave a bit of thought to the shepherds. Unlike in most nativity plays, there is no indication that they presented a lamb. The flocks they were watching may not have belonged to them and we certainly don’t see Mary and Joseph presenting a lamb when they present Jesus at the temple (probably about 40 days later). Instead, a pair of doves are offered: the most inexpensive option and an indication that they were poor.
Joseph is only mentioned as being there but we learn more about Mary, in that she treasures the memory of these events and ponders them in her heart. You may recall that she did the same when Gabriel appeared to her in chapter 1 and also that, at the end of chapter 2 (set twelve years later when Jesus is almost a teenager), she receives more to treasure.
I think there is a lesson in that for many of us. We live in a world where nostalgia and novelty vie for attention but it can be a struggle to get satisfaction. Mary’s example – and a lesson the gospel author, Luke, seems determined to draw to our attention – is to take the time to cherish and ponder her experiences, a practice deeply connected with her faith. May we, like Mary, find and hold onto the treasures in what we experience and the wisdom to recognise them even in stressful, difficult and disrupted times.