Mystery by Bishop Rachel Treweek
As a child I loved waking on Christmas morning to find the tatty, bulging green stocking which had mysteriously appeared on my bed. With the Satsuma in the toe I knew I would find the treasure of chocolate golden coins. But apart from that I had no idea of what else lay within the misshapen fabric. How it looked and felt on the outside rarely revealed what was inside, despite my excited guesses. Things are not always what they seem.
Reading: Luke 2:15-19
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
An angel had unexpectedly announced to Mary a mysterious truth that she would give birth to God's Son and spoke of thrones and greatness.
Mary must have had so many questions as well as hope and expectation about what life might be like going forward. That was surely also true of the shepherds when they too encountered mysterious angels. In the mundane and in the stuff of the ordinary, they encountered mystery and dared to enter it. Life was not as it seemed.
As Mary watched her son's life unfold, amid the miracles and mysterious stories so much didn't look very royal or world changing, and so much was perplexing. Then came the nightmare of Jesus' torturous death. The mysterious wonder so present at the start seemed in danger of crumbling. Except there had been the pondering and treasuring all those years ago. I believe that through tears and heartache Mary did not forget; that she clung to the God who is totally other, yet closer than close. She knew that how it looked and felt on the surface was not the whole picture.
Then Jesus came back to life and although the mystery was more overwhelming than ever, it was priceless treasure. A gift for us all beyond our fathoming. Death would not have the final word.
Take time today to ponder God 's love given in a tiny, vulnerable baby fully human, fully God - Jesus Christ.
Pray that you might encounter the transforming treasure of God's love in your own life in mysterious and unexpected ways.
O What a mystery I see