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 this child, and all who heard it were 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 word “ponder” has become a new buzzword for me. I see it everywhere. 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. I think the reason I like this word so much is that it implies serious thinking, without worry. It’s like stress-free contemplation.
As I began to “ponder” my schedule for Christmas, I realized that my mind was straying from “pondering” and heading towards worrying. The “hurry-ups” and the “got-to’s” were entering into the picture. Somehow, the birth of Jesus was put on the back burner, and my focus was on shopping, planning the Christmas meal, and wrapping gifts. Plus, the stress of our family dynamics.
The scripture above implies that even at the birth of Christ, folks were scurrying and hurrying around. They (the shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph.
But what was going on with Mary?
Now, one might expect a first-time mother to be anxious. After the birth of my first son, I was overwhelmed with the newness of it all. I thought all those books on parenting would prepare me. Yeah, right! As soon as I held my son in my arms, I realized that nothing had prepared me for that moment.
But Mary was holding the Son of God! How does a mom prepare for that!
I can’t even imagine how hectic it must have been for Mary. At least I could enjoy the first night with my baby in a relatively quiet hospital room, in a clean bed. My only interruption was the nurse coming in to check my vitals, while my son lay beside me in a clean bassinet.
There were no animals to contend with. No mooing or yucky odors, prickly hay or cold air. Yet Mary wasn’t anxious, and she wasn’t the least bit concerned about the hustle and bustle around her. She treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.Those sweet words just take my breath away.
I thought giving birth to my son was noteworthy…actually one of the most spiritual, life-changing events of my life. But Mary had just given birth to the Son of God!
Angels announced His birth.
The greatest event in history had just occurred!
Yet she wasn’t overwhelmed. She wasn’t going to let anything interfere with the special moment. She took it all in, cherished all the events, and pondered them in her heart.
All the hurrying stopped with those words, but Mary. She took the time to gaze upon her child. The precious King sleeping in the manger.
Didn’t I stop and marvel at the wonder of creation when I gazed upon my newborn son? I may be getting older and forgetful, but I still remember that day like it was yesterday…those memories stored in my heart.
Mary had much more to ponder than the average new mother. But Mary had no sense of worry, no sense of anxiety.
Let us all ponder the verses from Luke 2:16-19.
If Mary, mother of the Son of God, could stop and treasure the moment, can’t we also do the same?
Yes, stop and treasure these moments of Advent. Ponder…carefully contemplate…what the birth of Jesus means in our own lives.
Without His birth, God coming to this world in the flesh, there would have been no death on the cross. No forgiveness and redemption of our sins…past, present and future.
Without Jesus’ death, there would not have been the resurrection.
We would have no hope or future.
The fulfillment to the promise of eternal life found in John 3:16 began with the first breath of precious baby Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Take as long as you need to ponder…think very carefully about…that one sentence called John 3:16. Don’t rush through these days of the Advent season with only thoughts of what will happen on Christmas day around your Christmas tree. All the meal prep and shopping and decorating are simply part of the traditions established by humans as being “Christmas.”
Advent is the “waiting” leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ! That’s Christmas!
What’s under your Christmas tree? Is it just a bunch of store-bought presents? Or, will you unwrap the gift that God gave you?
God loved us…the world…so much that He gave the best He had to offer…His Son…to those who choose to believe. And in return for believing and trusting our Lord, we receive the gift of eternal life.