Dec. 24: Treasure and ponder
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This advent season, my regular activities of work and life have had a little more of a frenetic feeling underneath them than usual. As my kids get older, I find our family having to craft tight plans for all our days to get everyone to their rehearsals and Christmas parties. Weekends have been taken up with preparations for and performances in pageants, festivals and music recitals, and we’ve even been caroling with our Sunday school groups. We want all this activity to spread joy and create powerful memories of the season that remind us every year of God’s place in our lives.
So when I read today’s passage, I was struck by Mary’s response to all the excitement she witnessed around the birth of the baby Jesus. The Angel of the Lord brought “good news of great joy for all people” to the shepherds, and they “went with haste” to find Jesus. They told everyone around them about the good news – including Mary. But she didn’t jump up and down like she’d won the lottery, she didn’t high-five everyone who crowded into the stable, she didn’t burst into song or do a victory dance. She “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
Our faith calls us to treasure and to ponder. Today, as you prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s coming, I pray that you will ponder the words you hear and treasure them tonight, tomorrow and all year long.
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.