“But 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 won’t forget anything. It’s what you do at the end of a very busy day when 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 to go beneath the surface to try to understand what it all means and why it happened the way it did.
No doubt Mary remembered the strange events surrounding the birth of John the Baptist. I’m sure she thought about what Gabriel said, and how Joseph responded when she told him she was pregnant, and then the amazing dream Joseph had. She must have recalled the arduous 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. And yet this is the perfect time to do it. What better time than the end of December to ponder what God has been teaching you?
Here’s a simple exercise that may help you do some serious pondering:
- Set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time.
- Find a quiet place. Don’t forget to put your cellphone in silent mode.
- Begin with a prayer asking God to show you the things he wants you to learn.
- Focus on the Lord. What have you learned about God’s character in the last year?
- What lessons seem to come up again and again? What have you learned about yourself (positively and negatively) this year?
- Ask the Lord for insight as to where he might be leading you in the year to come.
- Use all of this as the basis for some personal prayer requests for the next twelve months.
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.
Lord God, help me to trace your fingerprints in the past so that I will not fear to follow you in the future. Amen.
Musical bonus: Kari Jobe invites us to join the Wise Men and Adore Him.
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