This is the question many students may ask themselves after graduation from high school or college – what next? The completion of something we’ve worked toward for so long can produce some anti-climactic emotions. They may consider “do I continue in my education or grab the world by its tail?” For those who think the latter, they may find letting go once the tail has been grasped a little unpleasant, sort of like grabbing a tiger!
The armed force places a great deal of importance on the transition from military to civilian life. After serving twenty years, a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman can feel like they’re standing on the edge of uncertainty when retirement comes. “What will I do now?” “What happens next?” To mitigate this event, a program of transition begins almost a year before the important date to help service men and women make a productive leap from career to career.
Do you think Mary, the mother of Jesus ever asked, “what next?” She had been visited by the Archangel Gabriel, became “with child” through the Holy Spirit, and heard about the wonderful visit her husband-to-be received where he received very specific instructions.
They traveled from Nazareth to the city of their ancestor David to be counted in the census. It was obvious she was pregnant when they arrived in Bethlehem. We can only guess Mary and Joseph were the only two who knew all the details of the visits and instructions, as well as the mighty things their son would do.
Without warning, stinky, dirty, lowly (on the societal ladder) shepherds appeared in the stable after the birth. No doubt Mary and Joseph were amazed by what they told the new mother and father. They had also been visited by an angel and sat front row for a concert of heavenly hosts! “How could all this be” Mary must have thought. The only answer was everything they were told and heard had to be true.
Mary was overjoyed at all she was seeing and hearing. Her heart was filled with excitement. But Mary must have also thought about the words of the prophets foretelling of the Messiah, as well as the words of the angel.
Luke 2:19 gives us a little insight into the mind of Mary: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The things she was seeing was worth more than silver or gold to her, but she also started to look to the future and the future of her son. She had to ask herself “what next?”
What’s next for us after Christmas? Will we return to the same old routine, the same old “me” or are we going to make a change? Joseph changed. Mary changed. The shepherds changed, as well as everyone they met on the road back to the fields.
Knowing what we know, looking at the story of the birth of Jesus, we should all ponder all these things in our heart, and like the shepherds, tell everyone we see on our roads about the wonderful Messiah born in the city of David. This is the greatest treasure we all can share!