Luke 2:7 (NKJV) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke was a disciple of the Apostle Paul and known to the Christians as “the beloved physician.” (Col. 4:14) His special status in the Church opened doors for him to investigate the details surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:1-4)
One of the distinctive marks of Luke’s gospel is that his narrative reflects details that indicate a certain level of intimacy with those he interviewed. For instance, on the night in which Jesus was born, some shepherds appeared to Joseph and Mary with the revelation that a choir of angels had appeared to them and announced that the Messiah had been born. (Luke 2:8-20)
Interestingly, Luke captures Mary’s personal reaction right when the shepherds were finishing their announcement while the people present expressed their amazement. Luke 2:19 says:
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Just a few verses before, Luke shares some insight as to Mary’s meditation while holding her baby for the first time. She had been given the great task of being the Messiah’s mother- but greater than that, Mary would become intimately acquainted with the pain experienced by God when He gave up his only-begotten Son.
St. Luke shares the key to understanding Mary’s mystical insight when he divides 2:7 into 5 parts, these being:
- And she brought forth
- her firstborn Son
- wrapped Him in swaddling cloths
- laid Him in a manger
- there was no room for them in the inn.
These 5 basic divisions are parallel to thought concepts that had already been prophesied in St. Mary’s song, the Magnificat (1:46-54). The parallel thought concepts can be cataloged as follows:
- And she brought forth (1:46-50)
- her firstborn Son (1:51)
- wrapped Him in swaddling cloths (1:52)
- laid Him in a manger (1:53)
- there was no room for them in the inn. (1:54-55)
When Jesus was born, Mary’s first realization was that she had indeed been chosen by God to immaculately bring forth a son. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6) What a great vocation to be the mother of the Son of God!
But not only was she privileged to bear God’s Son, the baby in her arms was the appointed “firstborn” of God to be heir of the Davidic throne. (Psalm 89:27)
She wrapped him in swaddling cloths…Unlike the pompous rulers of the world, who dressed in sumptuous robes in order to exalt their appearance among people- the King of Kings would be exalted by his humility. (Isaiah 11:1-3)
Ultimate justice was finally inaugurated! He would serve as the all-satisfying food for the humble of heart, while the self-sufficient would be sent away empty for their conceit.
There was no grace for him at his birth…Not because he decided to be born an ascetic who volunteered himself to live poorly, but one who was truly rejected from before his birth. (John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3)
Because we rejected him, God has accepted Him. Through Him, God accepts us when we believe and join His mission to save the world.
Regardless of the insights that Mary could’ve had while pondering on these things…nothing could ever explain the depth of love that she felt for her son, Jesus. The point of growing in “knowledge” is so that we might consciously come to gradually love him with our whole heart.
So many thoughts crossed through Mary’s mind… but her love for her Son overpowered them all.
May we also come to the point of loving him with our whole heart, regardless of our understanding.