Dec 25, 2017

“A Treasury” Christmas Day 2017

Luke 2:1-20
Christmas Day, 2017

This is an interesting service and draws an interesting group of people.  On this day I and we see folks we don’t often see.  Christians, old friends, and others join us in this, one of the few Worship Services on Christmas Day in this vicinity.
It is also interesting in that, while the service is short, and most of us have a lot of other things to do this day, no one ever seems to be in a hurry to go home after the service is over.  If this group is like those of other years, you will be here quite a while talking to each other before you depart.
I have been pondering this phenomenon for the last 9 years, and I think I may have found a reason for it in the scriptures we read today. 
It is a glorious passage.  In it we read of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are all familiar enough with Christian doctrine that we know that the birth of Jesus was not the beginning of the Son of God, but that the son existed in Divine form before he became a human through the womb of Mary.
So today we celebrate the miracle of the incarnation of the divine into a human being or the miracle of the divine taking on human flesh and human relationships.
And, in the Scriptures I read today, there is a mention of Angels announcing the birth of Jesus to Shepherds who were near Bethlehem.
Then there is the account of the Shepherds, having been informed of the birth of the Messiah, going to Bethlehem to see this baby, and telling Joseph and Mary of the angelic announcement.  We read that all who were there were amazed at what the shepherds had told them. 
And then we have a very interesting phrase in verse 19.  It reads, “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
On the first Christmas day, or the evening thereof, Mary took advantage of her time of rest after birthing a child, to take in and value as a treasure the somewhat baffling things that the angels had said.
And this was not the only occasion when Mary did this.  The second chapter of Luke covers 12 years.  Later in this chapter Luke will write about the visit Jesus took as a 12 year old with his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover holidays. 
You all know the story, how Jesus remained in Jerusalem after his parents left, and how he amazed all in the temple with his questions and answers in his conversations with the rabbi’s. And how, when questioned about his remaining in Jerusalem when it was time to go home, he said that he had to be about his Fathers business or things.
At the end of that passage, there is another phrase informing us that Mary kept or treasured these things also in her heart.
As we think of the remainders of the lives of Jesus and Mary we might think of a few other occasions when Mary would keep in her heart the memories and truths of the sayings or behaviors of Jesus.  The miracle of turning the water into wine at a wedding in Cana, which Mary seems to have coerced Jesus into doing, would be one.
Going back, I guess that the treasury of things Mary kept in her heart started with the announcement of the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of God’s Son.
She would need to draw upon that treasury as she watched her son being plotted against, and as she observed his death on the cross.
But it would be renewed and increased when she saw him after the resurrection.
As in most things, our culture has seized upon a great biblical truth and twisted it so that it is barely recognizable.
This is a day for us to renew the treasuries in our hearts.  This is a day for us to gather treasures.  But you will not find the real treasures in colorfully wrapped presents under your Christmas tree, or perhaps now exposed amid the colorful shreds of discarded wrapping paper.
The real treasures are to be found in this scripture passage, and in the truths it conveys about our Lord Jesus, Christ, whose very name means “Savior”.
And, if I may go a little farther, there are also treasures to keep in our hearts here.  We find joy, comfort, and encouragement in visiting with each other after the service.  These are your friends, your Brothers and Sisters in Christ, who for various reasons are not in our presence all that often.  Speak to them hear what they have been up to, and celebrate together the birth of our lord, the incarnation of God.  And add it all to the treasures in your hearts.

Pastor David Horner
Faith Presbyterian Church
West Lafayette, IN 47906