“Kept In Her Heart” ( Luke 2:16-20, WYC ) by Carley Evans

c. 1475-1480
c. 1475-1480

Until the shepherds – who hear the word of the Lord through the angel who stands beside them with their flocks of sheep outside Bethlehem – see the Christ Child in the manger, they do not believe. Once they see the Child, then they tell others and those others wonder “of the things that were said to them of the shepherds.”

“And they hieing came, and found Mary and Joseph, and the young child laid in a feed-trough [put in a cratch]. And they seeing, knew of the word that was said to them of this child. And all men that heard wondered, and of these things that were said to them of the shepherds”

On the other hand, Mary hears the words but keeps them together with what she already knows. She stores all this knowledge in her heart, and does not speak.

But Mary kept all these words, bearing together in her heart.

The shepherds once again glorify and praise God for what the angel tells them and for what they now hear and see – they recognize that what is told to them is true.

And the shepherds turned again, glorifying and praising God in all things that they had heard and seen, as it was said to them.”

Mary is like someone in shock; soaking up everything that happens without fully understanding. She’s been through childbirth in less than ideal conditions; now strangers clamber to see her newly born son. Animals moo and bleat and stink. She’s barely presentable, not much like our nativity scenes, I imagine. All this young mother can do is “keep all these words, bearing together in her heart” which will break.