Thursday, December 9, 2010


Verse 19. It's the one that always gets me. I don't why exactly, but the phrase, "Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19) is as captivating to me now as it was when I was a little girl. Here was a young lady, barely a woman from what historians tell us, who had seen an angel, heard tale of her barren cousin's miraculous pregnancy, carried a baby and birthed it in a stable of all places, and was visited by shepherds who also saw angels and found she and her infant son by their direction. She's lead quite an extraordinary life. And I wonder, what did she ponder? The passage says she pondered "these things" and I have to think it was the miracles, the promises made to her that came to fruition right before her eyes, even within her own body, on which she let her heart linger. Matthew 6:9-10 says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." At Christmas, I can't help but think of all the material treasures we cling to. We make our lists, we check them twice. We add more to our lists. We stretch ourselves in every way possible and rarely is it all enough. And days later, the discarded wrappings are bulging from over-taxed garbage bins waiting at the curb, largely forgotten, new toys are laying about the house in various corners, the brooms shifts aggressively over crumbs and scraps, and the season is tidied and tucked away for another year. There is nothing wrong at all with gift-giving or any holiday festivity. I am just pointing out that what is often the treasure of our children's hearts and even that of our own hearts days before Christmas is soon forgotten days after. And we are left picking up miscellaneous pieces. Then there was Mary. She was given this beautiful son. Sure He was God incarnate, but to a young mother who nourished him, clothed him, comforted his tears, sang him to sleep, taught him Jewish customs, and kissed his skinned knees, I am sure he was more son than God. And only three decades after giving birth to that sweet baby she would lose him to a death that would kill most women from grief. He didn't become king on earth in the way many hoped. He was ripped from her life violently and without mercy. Gone. There can be no pain like that of losing your own child. It is unutterable. Indescribable. How did that woman survive? I think it must go back to what she treasured early on as a young girl. She had seen the faithfulness of God. She had seen that Yahweh was "not slack concerning his promises." (II Peter 3:9) She had seen that when he told her she would bring forth a son, she did just that. She had seen His protection of that young son when he brought visions to Joseph that they should leave the place they were staying for the safety of the child. She treasured and pondered the character and promises of God. When faced with the greatest, deepest lost, she had a treasure trove within her heart of things that moths and rust do not destroy, that man can never crucify. With every passing year I learn that we are less and less invincible. The marriage I thought was made in heaven crumbles, the man I thought so strong stumbles, the home of someone's childhood burns to the ground, the healthy little girl becomes racked with cancer, the friends once so close are a distant memory. Life is so full of change. There's that saying that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. There's some truth to that addage, but to it I would add that the greatest certainty in life is the faithfulness of our God to fulfill his promises. So this season, I'm making a point to examine what exactly it is I treasure and to focus my pondering on the faithfulness of God in my own life. I'm treasuring the times He's carried me through. I'm pondering the times when I saw His promises materialize in my little world. Because I don't know if I will get tomorrow. And if I do receive tomorrow, I do not truely know who or what I will find there with me. But this I do know, if I meet tomorrow, I meet it in the company of the God who promises never to leave, never to forsake. There are uncertainties in my life even now--things that I worry over, surprises, curveballs, things we weren't expecting. But God knew. Scripture says, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast on thee. For he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3) May I be found pondering the God who remains good in all circumstances; may that be where my heart is found. In that there is peace. And didn't the angel proclaim, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth all men." (Luke 2:14) Pray with me: Jesus, YOU are life. You are joy. You are peace. You are hope. You are ALL that I could ever need. May I see YOU for who you are. May my heart not become crowded with treasures that could dissolve tomorrow but may my heart be filled to overflowing with YOU. I treasure YOU this season. Amen. Read with me: What God has promised. II Peter 1:4 Philippians 4:19 II Cor. 12:9 I Cor. 10:13 Jude 24 Romans 8:28 John 3:16 Psalm 46:1 Matthew 11:28 (a link with a lot more-- )