The next test for Mary was the birth itself. I have often wondered what we would think if someone in our church had a birth story like Mary’s. We would all be mortified! Yet God chose to bring His Son into the world in a humble, unpretentious manner. God exalts the humble; this is His way. And it is emphatically not the way we would do it, were we in charge.
But God didn’t leave Mary wondering at the stable, either. He sent shepherds to confirm again to her that He was still fulfilling His promises in His way. The shepherds spread “the saying which was told them concerning this Child” (Luke 2:17) by the angel of the Lord. And “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). She was remembering God’s faithfulness. She remembered Elizabeth’s word. Now she tucked away the shepherds’ words. All these things would help her through to the end. God showed Mary that she was still “ ‘highly favored’ ”; He sent her comforting words through His servants, messages of His love and reminders of His promises.
When Mary’s days of purification were ended, Jesus was presented to the Lord in Jerusalem. Again, God sent a message to Mary, this time through Simeon: “ ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’ ” (Luke 2:34–35). I wonder whether this parenthetical comment from Simeon came as the result of a worried look on Mary’s face. These were hard words for any mother to hear. We know that Mary would indeed be pierced as she watched her Son bear the heaviest piercing of all. But God continued to remind her to remember His faithfulness to all generations.
God used the prophetess Anna (in Luke 2:36–38), as well as the Magi, to send other messages of confirmation and comfort to Mary. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11).
God sent His angel to warn Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt, to run away in order to save the life of the young Jesus. Mary must have been comforted to know that God was now sending her messages of help and comfort through her own husband. God was confirming His plan for Jesus, calling the family back when it was safe, and directing them once they returned.
When Jesus was 12, He frightened His parents by staying behind in Jerusalem after they had started home. This time Mary received the message from her Son: “ ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ ” (Luke 2:49). And Scripture says, “His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51b). The pieces of the puzzle were coming together. She was pondering, remembering all God’s messages to her from the angel of the Lord, Elizabeth, the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, the Magi, and Joseph. God was calling her to continue to trust Him to fulfill His plans. She was still the Lord’s maidservant, recalling all His words to her.