Sunday 27 December, Christmas 1

Today’s readings: Isaiah 61.10-62.3Luke 2.15-21.

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

I always love this phrase, whenever we come to it in the Christmas readings. It seems so personal, so true – as if, years later, after all the worries and griefs of raising this child and watching him go to his death, after all the mystified joy of his resurrection, Mary has retold this story. And she looks back at the whole tale and now, now that she can make sense of it all, she remembers that even then, with a new baby in her arms and at her breast, even then she wondered what it all meant.

In this phrase, Mary comes alive for me. A new mother, treasuring up everything that anyone says about her child, wondering what the future holds for him – that’s so relatable, so human, so absolutely true and beautiful. I think of all the new mums now, sharing photos of their baby on social media and chatting on Mumsnet, and think how universal and timeless it is to treasure what people say to us about our children and to ponder, to wonder what it all means, what will happen. To try to make sense of it all.

It also seems to me that this time between Christmas and New Year is the perfect time to do a bit of pondering. I’m not one for making resolutions – and I think last year taught us very clearly how easily our plans can get ripped up and thrown away anyway. But still, as we head to the end of what has been a deeply shocking year, full of fear and trauma, I think there’s going to be quite a lot of pondering going on. Quite a lot of looking back, quite a lot of sadness and regret – and hopefully quite a lot of looking forward, quite a lot of hope and optimism.

But if you can’t quite manage hope, then I pray that you will have faith. Faith that God is with us, that God is working God’s purpose out.

It has been a tough year and who knows what the future will hold. But like Mary let us remain steadfast in our faith. Like Mary, let us treasure God’s Word and ponder it in our hearts. Amen.

Prayer for this week

God in Trinity, eternal unity of perfect love: gather the nations to be one family,and draw us into your holy life through the birth of Emmanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.