Jesus Changed Everything

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

Traditions are a large part of the Christmas season. Special food, favorite decorations, and family activities connect us to the past and how things were. Some of our favorite traditions remind us of happy times and special people. When I smell cornbread dressing {a Southern thing}, I think of my grandmother’s special roasting pan where she baked gallons of the bread treat every holiday. My grandfather gave me an ornament when I was two. That was more than fifty years ago (there’s a picture below). I think of all the Christmas’ past that it represents. When I look at these pieces of my history, I can smell the food and hear the laughter.

One of my favorite traditions is reading about the birth of Jesus in the second chapter of the gospel of Luke. Each year, before presents are opened on Christmas Eve, one of the grandchildren reads from the Bible about the birth of Jesus. This tradition began with my oldest son, the first grandchild in our big family. When he first began to read, the story came from a children’s book. Today, over two decades later, one of the younger grandchildren reads from the Word of God. This tradition helps us remember that Jesus is the center of the celebration.

Each time I hear this scripture, I try to imagine the scene — young Mary in labor, about to give birth. She could not know what to expect. Joseph was so anxious. He was desperate to find a safe place for his wife with no options except a barn filled with cattle, goats, and donkeys. The smell of the animals had to attack their senses. They were alone, chaos and darkness spread through the stable. The moments before the birth swirled with fear.

But Jesus changed everything.

The birth of Jesus transformed the scene. At that moment before God became man, Joseph and Mary felt alone and afraid, nowhere to turn. Then Jesus came, and they were filled with adoration and hope. I imagine the light of the star announcing His birth shone so bright no one in Bethlehem missed the event.

Out the dark and into the light.

The birth announcement did not go out to kings and the important people of Bethlehem. The angel sent by God spoke to the lowest of the low. The angel told a group of shepherds resting in the field with the sheep they were charged with protecting. They were doing their job, doing what they did every day.

But Jesus changed everything.

Again, the scene starts with fear. Understandably the sight of an angel was shocking. Maybe they thought it was a dream. A light again breaks their darkness. The angel says to these men, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Before they can comprehend what they have heard, a multitude of angels begins singing the good news. The sound must have been so sweet. After a meeting, the shepherds found Mary and Joseph and told them of the angel’s visit and saw the baby Jesus. They were changed.

But Jesus changed everything.

The birth of Jesus is the center of the story, but I love Mary’s response. Stars are shining. Angels are singing. Shepherds are spreading the news. Everyone involved is in a frenzy. But not Mary.

Scripture says, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)

The words “treasured up” in the verse mean to exert mental effort to store information, and to store precious memories having continual access to them. Like Mary, I have treasured memories of my children, first days of school, graduations, a beautiful wedding, but Mary was cherishing memories of the moment light pierced the darkness.

Darkness became light. Chaos became peace. Death became life.

Jesus changed everything.

This season as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, how has the birth of Jesus changed your life? Are you living in darkness? Jesus is waiting to shine light and give you hope. Is your life filled with turmoil? Jesus is waiting to provide you with peace. Do you know His live-giving salvation? Jesus is waiting to give you eternal life. Jesus will change everything.

Merry Christmas to you!

Praying you treasure up the memories you make this year.

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