"The Thinker" by Rodin
“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 that you will not forget anything. It’s what you do at the end of a very busy 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 to go beneath the surface to try 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, and how Joseph responded when she told him she was pregnant, and then 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. And yet this is the perfect time of year to do it. What better time than now to ponder what God has been teaching you? To look back over the last 12 months and consider the ways and works of God in your life and in the world around you?
Here is a simple exercise that may help you do some serious pondering before 2014 arrives:
Set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time.
Find a quiet place. Don’t forget to turn off the TV, the computer, 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 (positively and negatively) 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.
I believe 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.
O Lord of All, give me eyes to see your hand at work in my life. Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may love you more and serve you better. Amen.