Have you ever wondered how it is that Luke the Gospel writer knows the stuff he’s telling us? For instance, he wasn’t present at the Annunciation to take down notes. Only Mary and the Archangel Gabriel were there. And in today’s Gospel, after the shepherds visit, it says, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Now how does Luke know what Mary was thinking? Who could know something like that besides Mary herself?
Now I suppose the Holy Spirit could have directly infused the knowledge of these things into him, but that’s probably not what has happened here. Luke probably learned of these details in the most natural and human way; by being told about them, first or second-hand, by people who knew. Luke begins his Gospel by saying that his narrative of events is composed from what “those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed … down to us.”
But there is only one person who could have been the original source for many of Luke’s details, and that is Mary herself. In fact, some call the beginning chapters of the Gospel of Luke “the Memoirs of Mary.” Perhaps Luke heard of these details from Mary’s very own lips and took them all to heart. Then later, knowing these things by heart, committed them to writing.
And so we do know something today of what was going on inside of Mary in those early days, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” And some years later, upon finding Jesus in the temple, Luke reports that Mary and Joseph did not understand what their boy when said to them, but “his mother kept all these things in her heart.” In this there is a lesson for us to discover through Mary, a lesson that is particularly applicable for us this New Year’s [Eve/Day].
In her life, Mary knew some important aspects of God the Father’s plan, but there was always a great deal about which she did not know. She knew that her Son was messiah, savior, and Lord, but his future, and hers, remained largely a mystery. Perhaps Mary wondered, as we often wonder when faced with evils and obstacles, “How can this be, Lord? How will your promises be fulfilled despite this?” Yet through it all, Mary firmly trusted that the Lord was with her, and we should do the same.
What does the new year ahead hold for each of us? Like Mary, we do not know, yet Mary shows us that we do not have to know. We do not have to fully know our future to be able to do great things for God and to be richly blessed by Him. We do not need to know our future for the Almighty to do great things for us.
In the year ahead, may the Lord bless you and keep you, as He did the Virgin Mary.
May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, as He did for Mary through Jesus’ infant face.
And may the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace, a peace like that which Mary always kept with her Son, Jesus the Christ.