“Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
The word “treasured” has the idea of counting things up, almost like making a list so you will not forget anything. It’s what you do at the end of a hectic day, and you want to make sure you don’t forget anything that has happened.
The word “pondered” goes deeper than “wondering.” It means to take the events as you have laid them out in your memory and then go beneath the surface to understand what it all means and why it happened the way it did.
No doubt Mary went back to what happened to Zacharias and Elizabeth and the birth of John the Baptist. I’m sure she thought about what Gabriel said, how Joseph responded when she told him she was pregnant, and the amazing dream Joseph had. She must have recalled the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and all the events of the birth itself, including the surprise visit of the shepherds. She certainly had plenty to think about. No doubt she continued to wonder why God had chosen her, and I’m sure she pondered what was ahead for her newborn son.
Pondering is hard work, which is why many of us never get around to it. Yet this is the perfect time of year to do it. What better time than now to consider what God has been teaching you?
Here is a simple exercise that may help you do some serious pondering before 2022 arrives:
Set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time.
Find a quiet place. Turn off the TV and put your smartphone on silent.
Begin with a prayer asking God to show you the things he wants you to learn.
Then think about the last 12 months. What has God been teaching you? What lessons seem to come up again and again? What have you learned about yourself this year?
What have you learned about God’s character this year?
Ask the Lord for insight as to where he might be leading you in the year to come.
If you do this exercise with an open heart, God will give you insight about the past and hope for the future.
Mary pondered what God had been doing in her life. Now it’s your turn.
My Lord, give me eyes to see your hand at work in my life. When nothing around me makes sense, anchor my heart in you. Amen.
Musical bonus: I love this hauntingly beautiful arrangement of Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) by Leanna Crawford.