And Mary Pondered All These Things: An Advent monologue
The following monologue was written for a candlelight service at New Era Christian Reformed Church. It is an interpretation of Scripture passages from Mary’s perspective. She becomes the narrator of the gospel story from the first Advent of Christ’s birth to the anticipation of the next Advent, Christ’s second coming. You will want to add the other elements of your worship service such as greeting, offering, benediction, and so on, to what is found below. Following each monologue you will find suggested songs; you may also want to involve a soloist or a choir on some songs.
Hi, I’m Mary. I remember . . . I remember so much that has happened in my life—times of exultation and joy, times of deep sorrow and grief, times when I was puzzled at what God was doing.
I grew up listening to my father tell me about the greatness of our people—the chosen people. I remember learning about the glory of Israel, of King David, King Solomon, and their vast kingdom. As I memorized psalms and learned about the promises of God to send a Messiah, I would look around and see the powerful Roman soldiers. I hated their arrogance and cruelty. And I would pray for the coming of the Messiah, who would make us a nation and restore the glory we once had.
Song: “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” (st. 1, 3, 6) PsH 328, PH 9, RL 184, TH 194, TWC 133
One day Joseph, that handsome carpenter and most respected man, came to my mother and father and told them he would like to marry me. Of all the men I thought I might want to marry, Joseph was the kindest, the gentlest. Now I had a dream that really could come true. We were betrothed, and Joseph went home to build a room on his family’s home so we would have a place to live when we got married.
One evening as I was praying, the angel Gabriel appeared before me. I was so frightened! He was visiting me, Mary. A poor girl in Nazareth. Impossible! But it did happen. The angel told me that I would become the mother of the Messiah—even though I was a virgin. I trembled as I agreed to let this amazing thing happen, even though I couldn’t imagine how such a thing could be. The angel told me, “Nothing is impossible with God.” I have held onto that truth all my life. After the angel left, I was still trembling as I tried to picture what was ahead for me. My baby would be the Messiah!
“Mary, Did You Know?” (Worship & Rejoice 192)
“O Lord, How Shall I Meet You” PsH 331, PH 11, RL 368, TH 156
A group of friends was going to a feast in Jerusalem. When they invited me to go down to visit my relative Elizabeth, I jumped at the chance.
After that long trip, when I entered the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth and saw that she was going to have a child, I knew I really had seen the angel. Elizabeth told me she was honored to be visited by the mother of her Lord! That was a revelation. She called my son her Lord. Then the truth became real to me: God had chosen me, and my heart was lifted up in wonder and joy. I couldn’t keep quiet—I had to sing my praise to God.
Song: “Song of Mary” SNC 102
Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-5
I stayed with Elizabeth for three months. Then I had to return home to tell my mother and father and Joseph the news. How would they receive it? How could they possibly believe I was still a virgin and that my child was the Son of God? Joseph, deeply grieved, decided to do divorce me quietly. But he couldn’t save me from my shame; all my friends would shun me. What was God asking of me?
Then God in his mercy sent an angel to Joseph and told him to take me as his wife. The angel told Joseph that my son would be the Savior to save our people from their sins, and that we should name him Jesus. So Joseph took me to live with his family, and he lovingly cared for me.
There was one thing I wondered about as I waited. The prophets had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but I lived in Nazareth. As it happens, the great Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, decreed that a census would take place. In order to be counted, Joseph and I would have to travel to Bethlehem. God must have had something to do with that plan!
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Worship & Rejoice 180)
“The Prophets Came to Israel” (st. 1-2) PsH 334
Traveling from Galilee to Bethlehem is always hard. This time, though, my child was ready to be born, and I found it especially difficult. How relieved I was to see Bethlehem! I knew the time for delivery of the child was near. But when we arrived, every room was filled. I had expected God to provide a special place for the Messiah to be born—but the only place for us was a stable. Had God forgotten us? But then my child was born. I forgot my disappointment when I looked into my baby’s precious face. I held him close to my heart and nursed him.
Song: “Mary Had a Baby” SNC 107
Suddenly we heard loud voices outside the stable, and in burst a group of excited shepherds. Full of wonder, they described a grand spectacle they had witnessed: while they had been tending their sheep, an angel appeared to them, full of the glory of God. They were terrified. They listened as the angel announced the birth of a Savior, Christ the Lord, in Bethlehem. Their amazement grew when a whole host of angels appeared, singing praises to God.
Then the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to find out if what the angels had told them was true. Those dusty shepherds grew calm as they looked at Jesus and worshiped him with great joy and reverence. I knew then that God had not forgotten us.
When the shepherds left, they couldn’t keep the news to themselves. We could hear them praising God and calling out to people they met that the long-awaited Messiah had been born.
“Go, Tell It on the Mountain” PsH 356, PH 29, RL 224, SFL 131, TH 224, TWC 151
“While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” PH 59, RL 200, TH 223, TWC 172
“Hitsuji Wa/Sheep Fast Asleep” SNC 110
When it was time for me to go to the temple for the dedication and offering, an eager old man named Simeon met us. He tenderly took Jesus in his arms and thanked God that he had lived long enough to see God’s salvation. Simeon predicted that Jesus would be a light of revelation for the Gentiles and glory to Israel. But he also told me something that surprised me: a sword would someday pierce my heart. I felt a cold chill as he said that, and even when the old widow Anna spoke of her joy at seeing the Messiah, I felt a darkness within me.
Song: “Song of Simeon” PsH 216, PH 605
Something even more surprising happened months later when an entourage of men riding camels stopped at our home. They were called Magi, scholars living in a distant eastern land. They told us they had seen a special star that signaled the birth of the king of the Jews. They had traveled all that distance to pay homage to Jesus. We were amazed to see these Gentiles bow down and worship our child, showing their adoration with gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh! Even these men recognized that our child was a king.
“As with Gladness Men of Old” (st. 1-3) PsH 358, PH 63, RL 228, SFL 143, TH 226, TWC 181
“Los magos que llegaron a Belén/The Magi Went to Bethl’hem Long Ago” SNC 118
But stranger things yet were still to come. An angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with the baby to escape from the clutches of that monster Herod, who wanted to kill him. We made the long trip there and lived in exile until Herod died.
To be sure we were safe from the clutches of Herod’s son, we decided to settle in Galilee. There everyone assumed that Jesus was Joseph’s son, and we lived as a normal family as the years passed.
Song: “Oh, Sleep Now, Holy Baby” (Worship & Rejoice 207)
But one day Jesus left our home. He said he had other work to do—the time had come for him to go out and preach the good news that the kingdom of God was at hand. He traveled all over the country preaching and teaching. His message was not like that of the other rabbis. He spoke with authority, but he took the role of a servant. He called himself the Light of the World. He tirelessly performed miracles and taught vast crowds, and the common people loved him and responded to his teaching.
Song: “Jesus Heard with Great Compassion” SNC 124
But instead of attracting powerful people and taking his rightful place in the temple as he taught, Jesus was alienating the priests and leaders. My heart ached with worry for my son. I followed him to Jerusalem when the opposition was so great that his life was in danger. I couldn’t believe that God would allow his Son to suffer jeers and deep hatred from his enemies.
I was in agony when I heard the news that he had been condemned to die. How could God allow him to be taken captive? Crucified? It could not be. I saw my son on that cross. I saw the welts on his back, the blood dripping from his nail-pierced hands and feet. I heard him gasp for breath, and I knew that this was the sword piercing my soul. Then the sun was hidden and darkness fell on the whole world. But even in his pain and degradation, Jesus looked at me with love and arranged for John to care for me. I watched him die, and my spirit cried out in anguish. God, how could this happen? This is your Son. Where is his kingdom? Have you forsaken us?
Song: “Meekness and Majesty” SNC 109
But you know that wasn’t the end. God hadn’t deserted Jesus or me. Three days later came the exultation, the joy, the triumph of his resurrection. Death wasn’t the end for Jesus—it was his victory. His moment of glory came when he obeyed his Father and died for my sin and yours. In Bethlehem he had been my baby, but then he became my Savior. During that first Advent I awaited his birth, but now during Advent I await his return.
Song: “View the Present Through the Promise” SNC 90.
The mother of Jesus is portrayed in a variety of recurring symbolic themes throughout religious documents in the Middle Ages. The color of her robes is symbolic. Mary is shown wearing a dark blue mantle starting around a.d. 500. This blue is Byzantine in origin and is considered the color of an empress. Blue is also indicative of sapphires and the skies. Beginning in the tenth century, red was also a popular color to represent Mary; and by the fourteenth century she was often portrayed wearing a red mantle instead of a blue one. The color red is symbolic of nobility, suffering, and passion. The classical representation of Mary is with a red robe and a blue mantle.
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