But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Great things were these which she kept, and most fit for earnest pondering. Great were they to all, greatest to her, the "highly favoured" amongst women. Life was opening strangely upon her; and the last few months had crowded into their narrow compass all that was most fit to stir the very depths of her spirit. Brought up in the, comparative seclusion which shut in Jewish damsels, the angel of the Most High had stood suddenly beside her, and troubled her mind by the strangeness of his salutation. Then had followed the fears and hopes which the promise of that angel-visitor had interwoven with her very being. The "Desire of all nations" was at last to come, and she should be indeed His mother. From her should spring that mighty Redeemer, to give birth to whom had been the earnest longing of every Jewish mother. What hopes and wonder must have filled her soul! At length the months of waiting passed away, and the gracious birth was come, the promised Child was born, the Son of hope was given; and still how much was there upon which to muse and ponder! There was the full tide of a mother's love for the Babe which slept beside her; there was the awful reverence of her pious soul for the unknown majesty of Him who of her had taken human flesh. Depths were all around her, into which her spirit searched, in which it could find no resting-place. How was He, this infant of days, the Everlasting Son? How was He to make atonement for her sins and the sins of her people? When would the mystery begin to unfold itself? As yet it lay upon her thick and impenetrable; all was dark around her; mighty promises and small fulfilments seemed to strive together in the womb of time. The angel had called Him Great, the Son of the Highest; but He lay there on her bosom weak and wailing as any other babe. He was to sit upon the throne of David; yet He was cradled in a manger. Angels broke on mortal sight, to make His birthplace known: yet none but the shepherds of Bethlehem had heard their message. A star from heaven guided eastern magi to His feet; but they made their offerings in a stable. She was "highly favoured" who had borne Him; yet a sword should pierce through her own soul. All was full of contradictions; yet amidst all she was unmoved. To the eye of a passing observer she might have seemed perhaps insensible — such a quietness there was about her. Did she know her own greatness? Did she feel the strangeness of all around her? Did her soul yearn over this Babe, and reach, forth to comprehend His unknown destiny? or was she indeed destitute of kindling feelings? No; "she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart"; not one escaped her; but the current of her soul flowed far too deeply to babble forth its emotions. The "ornament of a quiet spirit" shrouded the mighty swellings of her heart. She was in God's hands: this one thought was her anchor. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord": this was her talisman... So that this is the lesson taught us in the character of the Virgin Mary. The blessedness of cultivating a quiet, trusting spirit, a deep inward piety, a calm, waiting soul, by musing on God's dealings. This was what distinguished her; this was the groundwork of that strength and nobleness of character which we trace in her. This, therefore, we should likewise cultivate, who would share her blessedness. For this will be to us too, of God's blessing, a means of acquiring that pious cheerfulness of temper which is the natural mother of high and noble conduct. It is not in a loud profession or an obtrusive exterior, but in its silent inner power of bowing our will to that of God, of filling our common life with His presence, that true religion shows itself.
(Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.