The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.
When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.
Pope Francis is forever reminding us to keep close to Mary because she is a 'Mamma' and she knows the way. In Matthew we have so little clues, we have to rely on Luke's fondness for her to see the 'Mamma' beneath the title, Mother of God.
At the start of the New Year, another Mary, Mary Oliver, is oft quoted as an inspiration for the year ahead;
Tell about it.”
An excellent guide into mindfulness and the appreciation of all that is good in the world.
Perhaps Mamma Mary would have written;
In a few weeks, Mary will receive the warning, as if she hasn't worked it out for herself, that her new life will have more than its share of heartbreaks. And it is up to her treasure to show its worth.
Mary doesn't bring up a son who is tied to her apron strings; who afraid of his shadow, who takes the well worn road. The sword is overshadowed by the myriad graces and blessings of the everyday. Jesus has vision and courage and trust and all those qualities that makes you and I want to follow him because he follows his Mamma - and Abba - witnessing to the extraordinary in their ordinary lives. But it won't have been easy.
I wish you every grace and blessing for this new year and every year of your life. And for the days when you need it - I wish you the treasure of remembering.
There's an idea going around social media - you may have seen it - a Blessing Jar. The idea that you fill a jar with all the good things that have happened during the year - to be opened next New Year's Eve.
I have a variation on the theme.
You can use a jar; a trinket box or journal that you got for Christmas, the techno's might want to set up a Facebook or Blog page that only they can see.
And start collecting treasure; write in it, stick things in it. Blessings, graces, noticings, images, kindnesses. Add to it regularly. Don't share it (except when you feel it's right to) and don't store it.
Keep reading it; looking at it; appreciating it and letting it inspire you. In difficult times make sure you go back to it so that you are not overshadowed by the pointy finger of isolation and fear.
Treasure your friends; whether they are shepherds or Magi. Trust those whose words and gestures reach your heart.
And give yourself time to ponder. Maybe then you can 'tell about it'.
When Mary stands at the foot of the cross, it doesn't come as a suprise. She is a Mamma; she is ready, she has made herself ready. Her courage is held in the years of grace and blessings; in all that God's promise has given. She knows where her treasure is. When we follow her we will find ourselves with her Son.