But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19
After the shepherds departed, the evangelist Luke notes that “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” The referent of “these things” seems to be all the things associated with this particular birth – swaddling clothes, manger, shepherds and the shepherds’ account of the angels. These were the things that Mary treasured and pondered. One New Testament scholar notes that the meaning of ponder is “placing together for comparison.” If Mary compared the events associated with the birth of this child, it would be unlike any other birth and any other child. The implication of this text is that this pondering of the new mother was not limited to this singular night, but throughout her lifetime.
When I served as a vicar at Trinity Lutheran Church, Hicksville, New York, the congregation made the sanctuary available for people during the season of Advent for prayer. Before then I had never sat in a church alone. But it began something that I have treasured in the years since was time spent in a church sanctuary to sit in silence to read God’s Word, pray and ponder. Amid the stresses and pressures of this life, a quiet church has been a wonderful place of refuge to ponder “these things.” For no matter what we face in life individually, we are blessed to ponder the Christchild. It is always good to remember the One who was born and who died in abject poverty, but by whom we have the incomparable riches of His grace. It is a great treasure to consider forgiveness, life and salvation won for us on the cross and given to us at the font, the rail and in the Word. In a busy world full of never-ending notifications, it is good to shut our mind off to the world and spend some time in the quiet to ponder the depth of God’s love seen in the manger and on the cross.
Dear friends in Christ, we do not need to seek out an empty sanctuary to ponder these things. It is good for families and individuals to set aside the phones and tablets for a time to hear God’s Word, pray and ponder anew what the almighty can do and has done. May your family be blessed as you celebrate our Lord’s nativity and as you ponder all of these things!
Prayer – Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan