Scripture reading: Luke 2:15–20
Mary learns some new things from the shepherds. One is the designation of her baby as Savior. Mary understands God as Savior; now her baby shares that title. Earlier, Mary had spoken of God as Lord and heard that her baby would rule in the house of David (see Luke 1:27, 69; 2:4). Now for the first time she hears the shepherds refer to her baby as the Messiah, the Lord.
In these first chapters of Luke’s Gospel, Mary is portrayed as a willing believer in the face of unfathomable events. She is portrayed as a poet and prophet, a spokesperson for her people. Luke casts her as the most thoughtful of the characters who participate in the events of the birth of Jesus. She is the one who insists on “putting things together” for herself.
The passage ends with the simple faith of the shepherds, who glorify and praise God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Their faith is a matter of hearing, of overcoming the fear of what is strange, of obeying a divine command, and then of relinquishing the self to the joy of faith’s fulfillment. Theirs is a moment of simple ecstasy.
present with the wonder of shepherds at the manger,
present with the questions of Mary and Joseph,
present with the growing and needy child,
present with your weary world,
we plead with you: Emmanuel.
Help us, God of life and light,
to claim the mysteries of that birth,
to walk in faith and wonder,
to make our needs known to you,
to continue with patience our way back to you.
We pray in the holy light of the incarnation, Amen.