First United Presbyterian Church

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

When we ponder something, we think deeply about it.

Certainly, Mary had a lot to ponder! Her pondering begins with an unexpected angel visit and a startling announcement: the Child she would conceive would be the Son of God (Luke 1:29). I imagine Mary’s mind was in a whirl for the entire nine months! Pondering: Who am I to be chosen as the mother of the Lord? Pondering: What will Joseph think? My parents? My friends? Pondering: How will I say “yes” to such a plan? Pondering: What will become of this Child?

Mary and Joseph make the treacherous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Jesus is born beside stable animals and cushioned in hay. Angels rejoice! Shepherds race to meet him! Excitedly, they repeat what the angel told them: this is the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord! Mary ponders. To this day, we who believe the Story stand amazed and ponder this Good News with her. God takes on human flesh and comes to dwell among us.

Sometimes ponder means “to weigh” or “to wrestle with”. Surely Mary’s ponderings could not encompass all that was ahead. Mary would parent Jesus for thirty-some years. She would be the first to hold him and she would be among the last who stood weeping at the cross as he died out of love for the world (John 19:25). 

A well-known carol paints this picture: Infant holy, infant lowly, for his bed a cattle stall; oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the babe is Lord of all. Swift are winging angels singing, noels ringing, tidings bringing: Christ the babe is Lord of all! Christ the babe is Lord of all!

Jesus, come and be Lord of all in us as we ponder and believe. Amen.

Contributed by Rev. Jan Butin

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