During the Christmas season, very few of us spend time in peaceful pondering, quiet reflection and gentle stillness. Instead, most of us “deck the halls” at breakneck speed, push and shove our way through the “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks” looking for the best bargain, and feel certain it is we, rather than Grandma, who “got run over by a reindeer”!
Yet in the midst of it all, Christmas is still my favorite time of year. I especially love the annual reminder that God came in the form of a baby to be among us, God Incarnate. This year I’m also thinking about Mary, who, as a teen, was approached by an angel with an announcement that would change her life forever.
I remember the ominous feeling I had as a 20-year-old when I realized that I would soon be responsible for shaping a new life I was about to bring into the world. I can’t imagine how Mary felt knowing that she was going to be the earthly parent of the Messiah! That’s responsibility at a whole new level. Yet, there is something in the reaction of Mary that reveals who she was and how she approached her life’s assignment.
Luke 2 describes the angels’ announcement to the shepherds, who then found the young family in the stable and ran to tell everyone what they had seen and heard. Mary’s response, however, was much different than that of the shepherds. “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). This verse reveals two important characteristics about Mary: She treasured the moments, and she reflected upon them for deeper meaning.
I believe that to “treasure up all these things” means to see each moment as a gift. I can imagine Mary taking in every moment as she watched the child Jesus at play, and she must have enjoyed the idea that He, as a young boy, reasoned with the leaders in the temple. She was confident that He could solve the lack of wine during the wedding “dilemma,” and she would have spent hours listening as He taught His followers. Finally, Mary experienced unimaginable heartbreak as she helplessly watched the horrific torture of Jesus and His eventual death.
But because of Mary’s practice of treasuring and pondering, she must have sensed that His death was not the end of His story. The kind of quiet reflection Mary demonstrated is the kind of reflection that helps attach meaning to the events of life. This kind of pondering can enliven hope. I encourage you—throughout this Christmas season, and every day of the year—to live life in such a way that you don’t miss a moment! Treasure up all these things … and ponder them in your heart.
Prayer Focus: Father, during this holiday season especially, help us to slow down and treasure every moment with thoughtful reflection and the gift of life found through Your Son, our Savior.
By: Tammy Dunahoo, interim general supervisor