Bishop Michael Morrissey 2022 Christmas Message: Do we ponder in faith like Mary and Joseph in how we live and work?

15 Dec 2022

By Contributor

In this season of Advent, we find there’s much to ponder about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, writes Broome Administrator and Geraldton Bishop Michael Morrissey. Photo: ACBC.

“As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart”.

Travelling through the Australian bush often gives me a sense of God’s presence.

It causes me to ponder about many things in life and in the world.

In a recent visit to the Catholic community of Christ the King, in Djarindjin Lombadina, I was shown human footprints encrusted in Pindan soil and, as I pondered them, I felt a deep sense of awe and wonder at how they were there before Jesus Christ was born and yet Jesus knew the person who created the footprint.

‘To Ponder’ means to think carefully about things. Not to hasten our decisions but take time to consider everything and understand more deeply. To reflect deeply.

In this season, we find there’s much to ponder about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

Thoughts around ‘Why did Mary, heavily pregnant, and Joseph, have to travel to Bethlehem at such a difficult time?’ or ‘Why did no one seem to care about their situation and plight when they reached Bethlehem?’

A shrine to Our Lady, carved out of the trunk of a tree – Djarindjin Community, Dampier Peninsula, Broome. Photo: yaruman5/Flickr.

Following the birth of Jesus, Mary may have pondered, why me? Why here? Why shepherds and kings?

I am sure Joseph also had much to ponder about, with everything that was going on in the stable that night. ‘Why was this happening to them?’

Mary and Joseph’s deep faith would have guided their ponderings.

To see with the eyes of faith and know, that even though they may not have understood everything, they trusted God in all that was taking place.

They were not frightened by the mystery of God’s presence unfolding around them, nor of their visitors rejoicing in the birth of their son.

Do we ponder in faith like Mary and Joseph in how we live and work? Do we take time to ponder the grandeur of God and experience the wonder and awe of his presence in the world around us? To see wisely the things of this earth through the eyes of faith.

Pondering helps us to be more present with whatever’s going on around us. It helps our reactions be more of the positive sort. It is good, therefore, to make a practice of leaving aside, even for a moment, those things distracting us from pondering on what really matters in our lives, or in certain situations.

Allow the light of hope and joy to shine in and through us, and out into our community and world.

The Church at Lombardina. Photo: yaruman5/Flickr.

The Christmas season is a time to step away from the rush and ponder on what has happened in our lives throughout the past year. Like Mary and Joseph, some of the year’s journey might have been difficult and at times a real struggle.

Yet, as Mary and Joseph pondered the birth of Jesus, in a stable in Bethlehem, surrounded by only the animals and shepherds, all the struggles of the past year faded.

Let us therefore ponder the birth of Jesus and how it scatters the darkness and shines the light of hope brightly like the Star of Bethlehem in our lives.

May it help us be present to each other more and, like Mary, may we treasure in our hearts all the good things God has given this year, especially those who are close to us and those who have been part of our lives.

Blessings and peace to you and your families this Christmas. Be full of hope and pondering as we enter the new year, 2023.