In Luke’s Christmas narrative there is a verse which speaks volumes about memory and storing up especially memories of love.
Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”.(NIV)
Starting with an angel visit telling Mary she was to be the mother of the savior, going through the birth of a child in a stable far from the helpful hands of her own mother, and then a visit from shepherds to whom the announcement of the birth was given, she has plenty to treasure and ponder on. She did, I think, spend the rest of her life treasuring up and pondering all that happened.
Christmas is a time to ponder God’s love and treasure up all the ways God cares for us and blesses us. It is a time to marvel at the wonders God surrounds us with and how simply and silently He chose to fulfill His age old promise to send a Savior. I can never get through the Christmas season without tears. They aren’t tears of sadness or joy, really. They are tears which come when something triggers a memory or a particular piece of music grabs my heart. I like to imagine this was Mary’s experience too.
Our call is to treasure up all the ways God touches our lives and ponder them in our hearts. This is the way memories shape our lives and the more we have stored up about God’s love the more likely we are to think on His daily presence in our lives.
When I was still serving a congregation the real message of Christmas did not hit me until the last candle had been extinguished and the last worshiper had left for home. Then it is quiet in the sanctuary and the outdoor lights sparkle through the stained glass windows. There is for a moment no outside distraction, no task demanding to be accomplished, no words which have to be said, and no songs which have to be sung. In the silence of that moment I can almost hear the angel’s message to the shepherds and see angel hosts celebrating the fulfillment of the hope of all ages. I can imagine the pensive look in Mary’s eyes as she continues to come to terms with what has happened. And I can almost see the host of saints -past, present, and future – glorifying and praising God for what He has done in Jesus Christ. Then it hits me right between the eyes. God did this for me, and for you, simply because He loves us. Ponder that one. God bless your Christmas season.”