So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about the child, and all who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.—Luke 2:16-19
The Encarta World Dictionary defines ponder as “to think about something carefully over a period of time.” Some of the synonyms are consider, contemplate, wonder about, and muse. One reason I like this word so much is that it suggests stress-free, worry-free contemplation.
As I began to “ponder” the Christmas season, my mind strayed from “pondering” and headed towards worrying. Somehow the birth of Jesus was overshadowed with thoughts of “hurry-ups” and “got-to’s.”
The scripture above implies that even at the time of Christ’s birth, folks were scurrying around. So they (the shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph.
But what was going on with Mary?
Now, one might expect a new mother to be anxious. Before the birth of my first son, I was consumed with anxiety. Would I make it to the hospital in time? The pre-selected hospital that awaited my arrival.
But Mary couldn’t even find a room in the inn to give birth to her son. Where was she to go?
At least the first night spent with my son was in a relatively quiet hospital room, in a clean bed. There were no animals to contend with, no mooing or yucky odors, prickly hay or cold air. But Mary treasured up all the things (the animals too?) and pondered them in her heart.
I thought all those books on parenting would prepare me. But as soon as I held my son, I realized that nothing had prepared me for that moment. Giving birth to my son was one of the most spiritual, life-changing events of my life, but what about Mary?
Mary had just given birth to the Son of God!
Angels announced His arrival.
The greatest event in history had just occurred.
But Mary wasn’t overwhelmed. She took it all in, treasured all the events, and pondered them in her heart.
If Mary, mother of the Son of God, could stop and treasure the moment, surely we can too.
Oh, if only we could simplify our lives this Christmas season and be more like Mary. Amid the hustle and bustle, during the hectic days, take the time to treasure all the things that God has done for us?
Without the birth of Jesus Christ there would have been no death on the cross. No resurrection. No hope of eternity in heaven. No truth in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Max Lucado said it so beautifully: “Because of Bethlehem, I have a Savior in heaven. Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross.”
This Christmas season we can simplify our lives if we keep a few things in mind:
-We can’t out-gift God. There is nothing that will ever compare to God’s perfect gift for each of us.
-No amount of holiday preparation can top what God has already prepared and planned for all mankind.
Treasure up all the things God has already done and ponder them in your heart. Let’s not focus so much on getting ready for Christmas that we forget the finished work on the cross. The peace of God’s promise in John 3:16.
May our voices proclaim the same words of praise to our Father in heaven as the thousands of angels declared on that glorious night in Bethlehem: