Luke 2:15-20 (CEV)
15After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.
17When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18Everyone listened and was surprised. 19But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.
20As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.
Only Part of the Story
Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.’
The one the angel spoke to nine months previously.
The one who has taken all these risks and had such great faith, isn’t quite sure what all of this means. She doesn’t know how the story’s going to play out. She doesn’t know how her son is going to fulfill the prophecies made over him. She doesn’t understand why a bunch of ‘nobody’ shepherds just barged into her none-too-private birthing chamber to interrupt her already short night’s sleep with visions of angels.
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus doesn’t get the story laid out in full.
So maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised when God doesn’t offer me a blow-by-blow of how life is going to play out. I’m one of nature’s ‘planners’, so I always feel like it would be so much easier if I could know what was going to happen and when. I’ve sat at births and death beds, though, and I’ve never had the details presented to me on a silver platter of faith.
And I think this is maybe the way it’s supposed to be. How often would I have actually sat through until the end if I had known how long or how hard some of those births were going to be? How many times would I have bailed on a person or situation because it wasn’t going to end the way I wanted? How much life would I have missed out on because I knew in advance that it was going to have messy, broken bits in it that I might not like, but that would nevertheless have been a huge part of shaping me more fully into the person God made me to be?
We humans aren’t good with the whole story. So we get little bits and pieces – like individual pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle – offered to us one piece at a time. I think the trick is for us to do like Mary does, and ‘keep thinking about it’, so that eventually we come to see how these pieces fit into the bigger picture that God is working to create in and through our lives.
- What pieces of the puzzle do you currently feel you can see?
- How complete do you feel the puzzle of your life is?
- Are there pieces of the puzzle that you can see that are worrying you?
- Are there pieces of the puzzles that you can’t see that are worrying you?
- Often we like to jump to the end of the story, trying to fill in pieces that aren’t really there, making assumptions about what the missing pieces will be. What would it look like to ‘keep thinking about it’ instead of jumping to the end of the story?