So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and 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. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:16-20).
We are fascinated with stories of hidden treasure. Many of the blockbuster movies over the last several decades have revolved around the search for treasure — the "Indiana Jones" film series, "The Mummy" movies, and more recently, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy and the "National Treasure" series.
As children, most of us were fascinated with finding hidden treasures. So, when we found old things, we would examine them hoping to find some secret drawer or unknown void where a previous owner might have stashed a hidden treasure. As older adults, we have to admit that we, too, check old objects and old places for such secret spaces.
The allure of finding something hidden long ago speaks to some primal place in our hearts. We would love to find hidden treasures, too. So, when Luke recorded that Mary treasured the wonder of Jesus' birth in her heart (Luke 2:19; Luke 2:51), something resonates inside of us. We understand a bit of her excitement and joy. Like those who heard the shepherds' story, we, too, are amazed. Our hearts skip a beat when Luke tells us that Mary intentionally treasured these moments and hid them away in her heart. Mary's reaction feels true to our world and our experience, yet at a level that far surpasses anything that we have discovered in our treasure hunts!
The mystery, the wonder, the bewilderment, the delight, the fear, and the struggle as a new mom to God's Son were secreted in that hiding place of Mary's heart. She opened the hidden treasure for Luke as he carefully researched the story of Jesus before publishing the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1-4). She lived her life so that we could find her hidden treasure and discover Jesus' identity as our Lord and Savior, the Son of God.
Mary's testimony to the beloved physician, Luke, has a feel of authenticity. Her memories, recorded by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, are nudges for us to open our hearts and receive Mary's treasure. These promptings invite us into the basic humanity and simple richness of this story. We enter a mystery beyond our comprehension but told in a story so real and straightforward, that we know in our guts that it is true.
So in the hurry of our season, the rush of travel, the frantic preparation for guests, the busy preparation of food, the mad dash back to the mall for the last-minute gift, the dread of re-awakened family conflicts, and the stress of relationships, let's NOT:
- Sweat the small stuff but be open to the mystery of Jesus' coming.
- Miss the tender moments of grace Jesus longs to bring us in our remembrance of his coming.
- Lose the opportunity to lock away treasures in our hearts from our moments with friends, family, and people of faith.
What Mary discovered as her treasure, we can treasure, too:
God has chosen to make known... the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27).
The apostle Paul would go on to explain how we are to live as a result of finding this treasure:
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3).
In this season of grace and joy, travel, and stress, let's not miss out on treasuring what matters most!