All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luk 2:18-19 NIV)
Why did those shepherds not immediately start to talk, teach and preach after the angels had appeared to them? They did not think about talking and sharing. They wanted to see for themselves first. Only after they had seen the fulfilment of the angelic promise did they start to spread the word. They were to be witnesses not only to their neighbours, but for generations to come all over the world. After they had seen, they started talking. And they started spreading the word conscientiously. They know something, that can not be hidden. They are burning and on fire.
The effect of their sermon was varied, yet all were amazed by what they heard. These were truly amazing things they had witnessed. Things that reminded them of the divine promises of old, but surpassed them even by far.
Yet the effect was not just amazement. That would not have been such a lasting blessing after all. From the mother of Jesus we know that the result of their witness was a lasting and fruitful blessing indeed. She was not only amazed, but she treasured these things in her heart and pondered them in their magnitude. She off course is the one, who enlightened St. Luke about this remarkable happenings later on. Listening to the gospel of St. Luke narrating the early childhood stories is like listening to St. Mary. She is a shining example of how we should deal with God’s word, which is revealed to us by the biblical apostles and prophets.
Like Mary I want to contemplate the divine mystery: God revealed in our flesh!
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the high holiday of Christmas. It is found on Pg. 36 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.