Day 3: Mary – A Christ Centered Christmas Celebration by LDS Living + Don’t Miss This

Hi everybody, I’m David Butler. I’m Emily Freeman. Welcome back or welcome new to our week-long,
Christ-centered Christmas celebration. We are on day three, but if you’re just joining
us that is not a problem, you can catch up. We are studying each member of the Nativity,
and we’re learning about their story, and we’re giving a lesson, and a small invitation
and tradition with each of them. And today we are learning about Mary the mother
of Jesus. RIght after Jenny and I got married, we moved
over to Hawaii to go to school at BYU-Hawaii, and why we ever moved back to this ice tundra
of Utah, we will never know. But while we were there living in Hawaii,
we had this beach that we loved to go to. Well, 10 years later, we took all of our kids
on a big family reunion back to Hawaii, and we went back to that same beach. And while we were there and the kids were
all playing in the water and everything, my mother-in-law actually walked up to us and
she kind of put her hand on both of us and she was like, “Look at you two.” And I was like, “What?” And then she was like, “Look at you. Could you ever have imagined 10 years ago
when you were here that this was going to be your life? That you were going to have these kids, that
you were going to have this house, and a great job, and everything that you have?” And it was super cool to sit there on that
same beach and think back 10 years before and be like, “Man, what did we think our life
was going to turn out to look like, you know?” I love that thought about your mother-in-law,
and just that perspective of like taking a minute to stop, and ponder, and look back
at what was going on. It makes me think of, in Luke 2, of Mary. There’s that one scripture that you think
of in the midst of everything that was going on, she had just had the baby, they’re in
this stable, all of that is happening. The shepherds have come, angels have been
there, there’s this new star, and there’s this one verse in the middle of Luke 2 that
says, in verse 19, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Have you ever wondered what it was that Mary
might have pondered? I think to myself that surely she did what
all new mothers do. I just imagine that moment when she’s holding
that baby and she counts those 10 tiny fingers, and looks at those little wrinkled toes, and
just pulls that baby up into her and looks at every single thing about just the miracle
of a brand new baby. Or sometimes I think, “What about like all
the visitors that show up?” You know? Unexpected, these shepherds, and they came
with stories about angels and glory and all of those things and later the wisemen that
just show up unexpected with gifts. Like maybe she thought about some of those
things. Do you think she ever wondered what was going
to be ahead for them? She knew this was the Son of God, could she
have even imagined that men would leave their entire livelihood to follow Him? That His hands would be the means of healing
the sick and calming the sea? Or did she ever think about the crown of thorns
and the nails in His hands? Or kneeling and weeping at the foot of the
cross? I think to myself, “Could she have anticipated
that moment when the tomb would be found empty?” Or when the disciples that she had come to
love and revere would testify boldly that He lives? Could Mary ever have imagined what her life
would be filled with being the mother and disciple of the Son of God? And years later, after all of these things
had happened, do you think she looked back on that night in the stable and remembered
some of those things that she pondered? We love thinking of what Mary might have pondered
on that night, that still and sacred moment when she just sat, and thought about the miracle
of that birth. I think it is so important for each of us
to remember to do that in our own lives—to take a moment and just ponder on the night
of Jesus’ birth. I like to turn down all the lights in my house
and turn on the fireplace and turn on just our Christmas tree lights. We have one room that is just full of Nativities,
the whole entire room. And sometimes late at night I sit there for
20 or 30 minutes and I just ponder on the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s so important to have a lot of joy and
anticipation and celebration at Christmastime, but it’s also really important to set
those times aside for sacred wondering and pondering and thinking. As you finish learning about Mary and talking
about her story and the lesson that you learn from her, then you can take your figure of
Mary and place it into the stable right next to Joseph. As you do that, you’ll want to remember what
Mary represents. “Mary reminds us that we need to find a moment
to ponder the events of that sacred night in Bethlehem. As we do this, we celebrate the
miracle of Christ’s birth and the gift heaven gave.” So the invitation for Mary is to find some
place and some time to ponder the miracle of Jesus’ birth. There are so many ways to do this, and let’s
talk about a couple traditions you might be able to participate in as you are pondering
like Mary would have. For some years, when my kids were little,
we would decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies and talk about Mary’s heart and the things
that she learned, but last year we started a new tradition. Somebody gave us this little box and in the
box they said to us, “What if on that night Mary gathered one thing from each of the moments
that happened to remember?” And a keepsake that she would look back on. Maybe there would have been wool from the
shepherds to keep the baby warm, maybe she would’ve kept just a little bit of the frankincense,
and the myrrh, and the gold, just a little piece to remember. Maybe a piece of the swaddling clothes, maybe
some of the straw from the manger that she could look back that sacred night, that miraculous
night, and remember those things that she pondered in her heart. Whatever you choose to do to ponder will be
perfect for your family, we just want to make sure you take a second to sit still, to calm
everything that’s going on around you and remember the birth of Christ and what happened
on that night. Thanks for being with us, that’s all we have
for the story of Mary, but be excited because tomorrow, day four, we are doing the lesson from
the angels. You can’t wait. See you then!

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