2 January 2017

Luke 2:15-21

“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” (v. 19)

Psalm: Psalm 8


You can look around the chaos of the post-Christmas house and wonder exactly what happened. Did we consume quite so many mince pies and generate that so much paper waste? Did we sing all those carols, and hear all those Christmas messages and songs? And if we did, and it was as we remember it, 'was it really worth it?' Luke's Gospel gets this, the lull after the excitement. This account is a way of anchoring the mystery of the nativity story with the complex and challenging account of Jesus' life and ministry and the growth of the early Church. "After the angels had left" (v. 15) tells of the shepherds who 'make known' the story that was "made known" (v. 15) to them, and it is treasured and pondered in Mary's heart. People return to where they came from, the shepherds to their 'abiding in the fields' and the angels to their heavenly choir. The birth is over. The fuss is over. Everything is back to normal? Will the mundane rule again with its calming predictability and safe assumptions?

Mary's life also continues. Jesus is made a member of the Jewish community, by birth and circumcision. Everything is back to normal? A child to grow up and learn a trade, to leave home and have children; without quite so many sheep and angels?

Everything is back to normal? Well hardly, and that is what Luke's Gospel is trying to say. The angels have come and gone, but the glory remains. We are now to be aware of God's remaining glory that did not return with the angels, or get taken away by the shepherds, or even be lost in Mary's heart. The child is wrapped not only in cradle cloths but in glory, and his glory is wrapped in human flesh and blood. Nothing can be the same. From now on it is all about mystery and wonder, and parting and sorrow, and joy and peace to the whole earth. Indeed, 'Glory to God in the highest'.

To Ponder

  • What do you treasure in your heart as you reflect on the Christmas Season this year?
  • Where does glory break through in your everyday life?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Born in Africa to missionary parents, Mark Wakelin is a Methodist minister, He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Chuch.