“But Mary treasured all these things,
pondering them in her heart.”
As the Shepherds made known the extraordinary angelic announcement, Mary carefully tucked away “all these things” in her heart, remembering, pondering, cherishing them deeply. This short, simple statement gives us a brief glimpse into Mary’s response at the birth of Christ. Stark with understatement, these simple words reach us on an emotional level.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed so amazed, so exhausted that you didn’t know what to say? Sometimes we don’t need to say anything and let the emotional rhythm of the heart simply absorb the details, appreciate the reality of God’s presence. Just to quietly take it in and hold it close. We don’t have to understand everything or have all of the answers, as long as we know God is present. Even in the midst of hardship we can treasure the truth of God’s word and the comfort of His presence without a word.
Although the prophecies, conception, and announcements of Christ are infused with miraculous and supernatural acts of God, this birth of a king has taken place in a stable, dirty and smelly with the life of animals. Away from home and far from the helping hands of family, I can only imagine what went through Mary’s mind as she wrapped her baby in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.
Christmas cards and tree ornaments often romanticize the image of Christ lying helpless and tiny in a hay-filled manger, yet the humility of these circumstances is not at all what we would expect for the birth of God’s son. I wonder if Mary felt confused or disappointed that God’s plan played out in such ordinary and difficult ways.
Even so, Mary treasured and pondered, weighed and thought through all that had happened. Though she would not have planned for the birth to be so difficult, evidence of God’s work and presence came to visit through the Magi and the shepherds.
Worship Tip: Treasure and Ponder Deep in Your Heart (Meditation)
Meditation relates to this worship that ponders. To meditate means to attend to, to practice, be diligent in, to ponder or imagine. Treasure the truth of Christ.
How do you meditate on Scripture?
Many theological books have been written on the subject, but for today, let’s keep it simple.
- Do you know how to worry, with your thoughts dwelling on one concern? If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate–just change your concern for God’s truth and keep dwelling.
- Meditation is also a lot like pulling taffy. You work with the material, stretching and pulling back and forth, until the candy is the desired consistency.
- It is also like rocking in a rocking chair. Relax into your verse like a comfortable chair and let the meaning of the words rock back and forth in the holy listening space of your heart and attention. Prayerfully read the verse several times, emphasizing different words or phrases each time.
- A treasuring meditation is also a little like scrap booking -taking time to collect truths and experiences that God has worked in your life. Place them in your heart or in the pages of a book, set aside as special and significant, pictures of God’s truth and grace in your life.
Consider how these verses relate to meditation and worship:
- “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”–Psalm 119:11
- “Bless the Lord, O my soul,And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits…” Psalm 103:1-2
- “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” 2 Timothy 1:14
- ” For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”–Luke 12:34
Today’s Worship Challenge:
Take time to treasure one scripture about Christ that has been meaningful to you recently. We have covered many during our challenge.
Here are a couple of ideas:
- Memorize a verse
- Pray, ponder, and write down insights God gives you about the verse.
- Take a walk or run and think about the verse or concept as you exercise.
- Listen meditatively to one of the songs posted in The Christmas Worship Challenge. Write down thoughts that come to mind as you listen.
- Start a journal or “scrapbook” of verses and experiences that you treasure as Mary did. Wondering, pondering, basking in God’s hand on you.