The Christmas story in Luke’s gospel ends by saying that Mary treasured all that had transpired, and pondered it in her heart.
The Christmas story in Luke’s gospel ends by saying that Mary treasured all that had transpired, and pondered it in her heart. While preparing for my Christmas Eve sermon, I have been looking at the Christmas story and pondering it in light of the traditional Universalist belief that Jesus’ birth was the important saving act. You see, if the birth was the important thing, then Mary played a vital role in salvation.
Here are excerpts from the sermon I delivered at our late Christmas Eve service, the results of my pondering of the story from Luke’s gospel. That story starts with an angel appearing to Mary ask if she is willing to give birth to the messiah and goes through to shepherds reporting that angels also appeared to them, an announced that glorious birth.
Come, let us ponder the Universalist message
That our bodily reality is consecrated
By the rose that bloomed in the winter,
The saving birth of Jesus from his sacred mother.
Consider the story of a young girl who,
When asked to robe the soul Divine
Responds so fearless and so brave.
How often when we’re asked to give flesh
To sacred impulses, to embody goodness,
Do we respond, first with questions,
And then with a simple, “Yes?”
As Mary pondered wise men, shepherds,
Angels from on high
And those disguised as village women,
Bringing blankets, food,
Wisdom and warmth,
As she pondered emperors
And the cruel course of kings,
As she looked upon the babe asleep
When so many others died,
I wonder what conclusions that young mother reached
As she wondered to cope with the great burden,
And to celebrate the gift, of raising a Messiah?
From all she pondered that holy night
And the many nights that followed,
What teachings she did she share with that
Exceptional child, with eyes so wide with wisdom,
Who stood quietly at her knee,
And followed her about her daily chores?
How much of what she taught him
Echoed later in the temple
And from the hills of Canaan?
How much of the strength she bestowed
Through her flesh and in her mothering
Gave him the courage to continue
When he would let the cup of suffering she tasted
Pass from his own reluctant lips?
What if angels told us we were raising
Children who might one day
Act to heal this bruised resilient world?
What if we looked for that saving power
In our selves and one another?
What would the angels breathless sing in their heavens,
What new Nowells compose?
Oh let us ponder in our hearts
The treasures of these words,
As we wend home this holy night
To live as the new messiahs,
To raise the lowly to high places,
To feed the hungry, shelter the homeless,
And begin the work of Christmas.
The Rev. Tess Baumberger, PhD, is minister at the Unity Church of North Easton, Mass. You can reach her at 508-238-6373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Unity Church, please visit our Web site, www.unity-church.com.