Besides a few shepherds, few in 1st century Judea or Galilee considered Mary of Nazareth to be anyone special. Some of her townspeople probably were counting on their fingers as they calculated the timing of her son’s birth and were looking at Joseph and her with arched eyebrows.
But, as that son came to be recognized as the Son of God, Mary was rightly called the Mother of God, the feast we celebrate today. A lesson for us: do not be too quick to judge others or events.
Mary also gives us an example to follow: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
But before reflecting, she has to listen to and notice “these things”.
As we enter a new year, listen to family members and everybody else; really listen, not getting ready to make a response or a counter argument or point. Unplug your ears from the music you carry with you on I-tunes and listen to the birds singing, a chipmunk chirping, a hawk screaming; hear the sound of your footsteps on the pavement or path and notice the world around you.
Put down your cell phone to connect with the person sitting across from you in a restaurant or at the dinner table. Connect by conversation with real friends instead of friends on Facebook. Shut off the wide screen TV when you have company to give them your complete attention. (Of course when run out of things to talk about or the conversation gets boring, you can turn it on again!)
Listen. Notice. Reflect.