Christmas Devotional

What the Heart Holds

What the Heart Holds

Tuesday Dec. 17

 Scripture: Luke 2:19

All parents cherish certain moments in the life of their children. The cute way their toddler mispronounces a word or phrase. The compliment a teacher, coach, or Sunday School teacher gives their child which helps the parent see potential they didn’t even realize was there. What the parent chooses to cherish and store in their heart may tell us as much about the parent as the child.

We learn a lot about Mary from how she responds when the shepherds arrive at the manger. They tell her of angel choirs proclaiming her child the Lord and Savior who will bring the earth peace.

Till this moment, Mary and Joseph (and perhaps also Elizabeth) were the only people to whom God had revealed Jesus’ true identity and purpose. Surely, there was still some doubt in Mary’s mind and she was reassured that she and Joseph weren’t the only ones seeing angels and hearing voices. Still, there may be more to Mary’s response than just a young mother finding her fears eased and hopes confirmed.

Let’s consider the content of what Mary chooses to hold on to in her heart. She clings to the proclamation that Jesus is the one who will bring peace between humanity and God. Mary finds her greatest comfort in the belief that God will use her sacrifices (and, in a way she never could have anticipated, the sacrifice of her son) to reconcile humanity and God.

Perhaps Mary is the perfect challenge to our ways of child-rearing and pursuing success. What if we came to see athletic accomplishments, grades, test scores, artistic and musical ability, college acceptance, scholarships, social status, well-paying jobs, big houses, nice clothes and all the rest as rather small potatoes in the overall scheme of things? What if the vision we cherished for ourselves and for our children was nothing less than being reconciled to God and living our lives in a such a way that we helped others draw close to God?

For some of us, this vision may seem too big and too grand. Maybe you just want to be able to pay the mortgage on time this month and not get a call from the preschool director informing you your child bit another kid. That’s understandable.

But as you worry about mortgages, behavioral issues, and all the other concerns of life, this Christmas know this: Because of Mary’s child was who the shepherds said he was way back then, today stressed out adults, kids who don’t make straight A’s or following all the rules all the time, and everyone in between can draw close to God and their lives can serve as a witness to invite others to do the same. And that is news worth cherishing and holding in your heart.

Prayer: Lord of all, let my heart be set on you and not on the things of this world. May I, like Mary, cherish your words in my heart and hold tightly to your promises to me and your calling on my life. Amen.

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