After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Even if the shepherds intended to secretly and quietly go check out what the angel had said to them, they didn’t stay quiet about it when they found everything to be EXACTLY like the angel had said. And it’s the middle of the night (Luke 2:8)! After seeing Jesus, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child (Are they talking to strangers on the street in the middle of the night? Did they stop in a tavern? Are they telling their family members?). The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen (Then they went back to work, but I bet they didn’t stop talking about it!).
But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often... I love to think about Mary and her responses recorded in the Bible. This here is an awesome response. She knows something amazing, more amazing than the miracle of childbirth, has just occurred and she is reflective. Not proud, not overwhelmed, not fed up, not a drama queen. Just reflective.
How about when the angel, Gabriel, first tells her she’s going to have a baby in the first place?
Luke 1:29-38 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
There’s no record of Mary being doubtful just confused. “How?” She’s just honestly curious how a virgin is going to have a baby. I can tell her response wasn’t cynical or doubtful because she receives a gentle response. The angels just details how it will be possible and simply answers her question. And her response to that is, “Oh, ok.” No wonder she’s pondering in her heart at Jesus’ birth while other people are busy being astonished. She has seen this whole thing through from beginning to end. She endured telling her fiance and living under scrutiny for 9 months. She was confident in the explanation given her. She asked a simple question: “How?” And got a reasonable answer: “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Contrast her response with other people’s responses to being told they will have a miracle baby.
Luke 1:18-20 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
Zechariah doesn’t ask simply, “How?” out of curiosity. No, he says, “How can I be sure...” I can tell his response is offensive because he doesn’t receive a simple gentle explanation. He is scolded and punished for accusing God of not being as logical as himself.
How about Abraham’s wife, Sarah’s response to baby news?
Genesis 18:10-15 Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”
Why does Sarah feel the need to lie, “I didn’t laugh,” if her response wasn’t offensive to the Lord who had already told her husband he would have countless descendants (Genesis 17:1).
There’s a big difference between asking God “How?” out of innocent curiosity and telling him, “Are you crazy?” out of doubt and arrogance.
It’s best just to believe like Mary did, nothing is impossible with God, and reflect on THAT!
NOTHING is impossible for you! Look what you’ve done! So when your Word tells me to return a curse with a blessing, or to submit to my husband, to not gossip, not cheat, not lie, turn the other cheek, and everything else that sounds weird to modern society - I KNOW nothing is impossible with you and I can obey you confidently and reflect on all you’ve done. I love you and I pray my responses are good and pleasing to you this day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!