Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19
I pray that today – the day of the birth of our Lord – you will gather family and friends, even if by Zoom, to read the Christmas story.
At the very end of this passage, you will read this phrase: “pondering them in her heart.”
Mary had experienced a lot the previous year.
Her Uncle Zechariah saw the angel Gabriel while serving as a priest in the temple. He had challenged the angel and could not speak for months. Then his wife, Elizabeth (past child-bearing years), had given birth to a child.
When they named him John, her uncle started speaking again.
Gabriel also appeared to Mary with an impossible message. He told her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. You have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”
In her latter teens and still a virgin, Mary replied, “May it be done to me according to your word.”
On the first Christmas, the baby had been born, and was lying in a manger. Surrounding Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus, were shepherds who had arrived to worship the Messiah. An angelic host had announced to them the birth of Jesus.
As Mary pondered her life, are we pondering our past year? 2020? What is going on? Why has God allowed this?
Scripture says, “Mary treasured all of these things, pondering them in her heart.” Our Bibles go with the more sedate translation of the Greek word “pondering” as it can also mean “talking to yourself!”
“Pondering” can mean “talking to yourself” or even “mumbling!”
I have been talking to myself this year. What have you been mumbling about?
I had COVID, succession in my ministry, fun and effort with grandchildren, pastoral responsibilities and difficulties, my office and library damaged by water, on-line with church services, off-line with campus church services, a long-planned anniversary trip cancelled – the list could stretch beyond word limits of this blog.
Your life too? Agreed, a lot for us to mumble about.
Through her pondering, Mary concluded that first Christmas what I have found by talking to myself in 2020: A baby has been born of a virgin. God is in charge.
As the angels sang to the shepherds:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:14
God didn’t send a Christmas card with “Merry Christmas” on the cover, and a nice “I wish you well” message on the inside. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son!
If God didn’t spare His own son, but gave Him up for us, how will He not also give us all things? So, allow your pondering to consider that Jesus now is at the right hand of the Father interceding for you, and when talking to yourself say, “I know that nothing can separate me from the love of God.” Romans 8:31-35 (OGV or Old Guy Version)
Reviewing the birth of Jesus in Luke chapters one and two: the priest Zechariah, the uncle of Mary, old in years and in his faith, did not believe Gabriel when told that Elizabeth would conceive.
Mary, after asking a question as to how it would be possible, said simply, “May it be done to me!”
My talking to myself in 2020 was more like Zechariah’s unbelief than Mary’s ponderings of simple submission.
I am glad that my salvation is based on the obedience of Jesus and not my great faith. In 2021, I will include in my mumblings:
Glory to God in the highest.
If you see me talking to myself in 2021, please note that I am pondering! If you ask me a question and I cannot speak…?
Barbara and I, along with Megan, Emily, Matthew, Jason, Chris, Jackson, Jesse, Colin, Lila and twins Gabby and Gwyn, wish you a Merry Christmas!
Thanks for reading one of my Interruptions. You can sign-up for the almost daily Interruptions by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.