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.
I find this moment in the bible so profound. Mary, having just given birth to not only a miracle baby, but the one everyone is waiting for, the Messiah, is in the midst of the most exciting story ever. I can just imagine the hubbub and the buzz as the Shepherds crowd in to see baby Jesus and the excitement grows as they think about all the people they can go and share the news with.
PONDER: to think carefully about something, especially for a noticeable length of time.
I can imagine Mary vividly in the midst of everyone's excitement, watching, taking everything in, quietly praising God and treasuring all that was going on before her. She doesn’t simply take a moment to sit back and say a “thanks God!”, she ponders. She purposely takes her time to let it all sink in.
Mary must have been grateful that she took the time to do this for the rest of her life; by pondering during this time, she won’t have missed a moment of what God was doing, and will have been able to reflect on it and praise God for it repeatedly.
I wonder how much you “treasure” and “ponder” upon what God is doing and saying in your life? I know that I certainly find Christmas a difficult time to do this; swept up with the multiple festivities and the general busyness, I often find myself on Christmas morning at church, feeling like I haven’t taken enough personal time with God to give Him praise, and reflect on what He has done for me.
Advent Challenge #4
Your fourth and final advent challenge is to find your own space over the Christmas period to ponder what God is doing in your life. That’s not to say withdraw completely or exclude yourself from the family fun, but to be intentional about being present and noticing where God is.
For me, I will be switching my phone off from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day, so that I can be present with my family, and watching for the Holy Spirit in my conversations. I want to have space and time to read the advent story again over those days, instead of being limitlessly connected to everyone I know, and comparing Christmas traditions with other people’s carefully crafted instagram posts. What could you do? It could simply be to give something up which will help you pay attention to God’s voice, or you might want to set some time aside specifically to go and journal your response to the Christmas story. Tag us on social media #fusiondeckthehalls with your ideas.
Have a blessed Christmas, rest well, work well, and take time with Jesus!