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Christmas contemplations

Mary’s eyes always seemed to be closed in those Christmas pictures. Why is that? Exhaustion? No doubt she had her moments, like all new mums, of needing to catch her forty (thousand) winks. But I doubt that that is the answer.

Perhaps she is reliving the moment when an angel announced to her that she would miraculously conceive. Perhaps she is remembering that awkward moment when some rough shepherds barged into the birthing-suite and said wonderful things about her child. Perhaps she is marvelling at the extraordinary star that was still shining over the fields of Bethlehem. Perhaps she is recalling the sound of sweet singing that seemed to come from the skies on the day of the birth.

But perhaps it’s something else. Early in those neo-natal days, Mary and Joseph were met in Jerusalem by an old prophet named Simeon. He told them that the child was indeed God’s appointed Messiah, and would cause the rise and fall of many in Israel. And that Mary’s own soul would be pierced with a sword. (Perhaps that’s why this year’s Christmas stamp artiste made it by paper-cutting!) Little did Mary know at the time, that the piercing moment would lie thirty-three years in the future, when her son would be exposed to ridicule, rejection and crucifixion.

Maybe her eyes are closed in contemplating all of these things. And thinking how unbelievably blessed she was, to hold in her arms, the One who would one day stretch out his arms for her.

DM 23rd Nov 2016

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