And Sometimes You Simply Must Ponder

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:15-21
Nativity | St. Ursula Basilica, Köln, Germany | December 2021

Our recent travels have provided several opportunities for quiet reflection. My body has not adjusted fully yet to the time change and sleeping arrangements. So awake at 3 AM, or 4, or 2, I have quiet moments to contemplate. My go to has been to pray the Lord’s prayer… again and again until I fall asleep. More recently I have been reciting the first 18 verses of the Gospel according to John. ”In the beginning was the word…” I have it nearly perfectly memorized. And I love the sublime theology and beautiful mysterious blessings conveyed in those words, ”The word became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth.

I don’t know whether Mary had those same thoughts as she pondered the events of the First Christmas. But we do know that she did ponder these things and treasured them in her heart. Luke will tell us of an event 12 years later when Mary again, ”treasured up all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). Mary’s example is a worthy one to follow.

John Ortberg writes of a conversation he had with a spiritual mentor. He was interested in the next thing he should do to gain a deeper spirituality. His mentor said, ”You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Ortberg’s response: ”Got that. What’s next.” Again the reply: ”You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Ortberg once again: “Got that. What else?” The reply: ”There is nothing else. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

The angel said it was ”Good News of great joy to all the people.” Far reaching. It was such a dramatic event: the angel of the Lord, a host of angels join their voices in praise to God. And when the shepherds check it out they discover things are just as the angel had told them. All is there according to their announcement.

As I’ve said before,* “Walk a little slower. Be a little quieter. Stay a little longer. For the world is loud and God often whispers.” 

This week between Christmas and New Years Day is a good week to do just that. Ponder. Reflect. Meditate. Consider….

  • Is there a sin to confess?
  • Is there a truth to believe?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a change to make?
  • Is there a hope to hold to?
  • Is there a lie to abandon?
  • Is there a joy to embrace?
  • Is there a blessing to share?
  • Is there a challenge to accept?
  • Is there a Savior to behold? 

Just a few good questions to ponder today…

Mark Lowry – Mary, Did You Know?

*I’ve attributed this quote to Chuck Swindoll, but I cannot find a citation. So next time, I’ll simply say, ”As I’ve always said…” That is unless someone can point me to the source.

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