18And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
It seems that commercialization causes us to begin the Christmas season earlier and earlier each year. It seems we went from summer to Christmas this year. And yet, once we draw closer to the actual date, it seems Christmas goes so fast. Before we know it, the lights go back in the box, exchanges are made at the store, we return to work, and we are on to a new year! Christmas is over and done until next year.
That’s the pattern of Christmas but for those who want to celebrate CHRISTmas forever and always, today’s Scripture gives us some helpful principles. You see, verse 18 says all who heard it wondered…other translations say, were astonished, amazed…at the things which were told them by the angels.
We can relate to this because we sometimes invest an incredible amount of time and much money in getting just the right gift for our children. As parents, we watch intently, waiting for the scream of joy as they open that particular package and our children usually do not fail us as they express their delight.
Ten minutes later the gift is tossed to the side and the child is very much occupied playing with something else with no thought of our perfect little gift. Sometimes it is as simple as crawling into and playing in the box that the gift came in. Please don’t misunderstand. Wonder, amazement, being astonished are great emotional responses. Certainly, our God gives us opportunity after opportunity to experience these emotions. It is our responsibility to make certain that they lead to even greater encounters with God.
Celebrating CHRISTmas is more than a short emotional season. It is a celebration of Jesus and the new life He died to give us. We see this in Mary’s response and we understand that it was different than the other responsesbecause the Scriptures say, “BUT Mary.” But Mary TREASURED ALL THESE THINGS, PONDERING THEM IN HER HEART. It seems that Mary’s wonder led her to deeper thoughts.
The word “treasured” means “to keep carefully, to value highly.” Mary valued the things that had taken place and held on to them. I believe she chewed on them and talked to God about what the angel had to say, the baby she was carrying, Joseph’s response, going to Bethlehem…the whole experience. This assignment and experience was so valuable to her that she was not about to toss it to the side and just pick up with the next thing. No…she let the words of the angels who were speaking on God’s behalf, get down in her heart for she valued them dearly. The shepherds went and told others giving God glory and praise for ALL that they had heard and seen, JUST as had been told them.
The Lord uses the Season of Advent to prepare our hearts for CHRISTmas. He uses His Word united with His Spirit, prayer, and songs to speak right into our hearts and lives. It shouldn’t be a quick experience of just wonder and amazement. Here today and gone tomorrow. Time to move on to something new. Just like Mary, we should remember ALL THAT GOD HAS SPOKEN to our hearts these last 4 weeks and treasure and ponder them in our hearts. We should be just like the shepherds and give God glory as we offer Him the sacrifice of praise. We should hurry up and in love, share God’s Word with others. “Look what the Lord revealed to me as I read, pondered, and listened to His Word!”
Now that the day of CHRISTmas has come and gone, The Lord continues to speak to us about His great love, Jesus’ great sacrifice, our great gift of salvation, the joy that is in our hearts, God in the flesh, and on and on. All of it so very valuable, in fact more precious than silver or gold and sweeter than the honeycomb. Let’s be faithful to treasure and ponder as we continue to celebrate CHRISTmas!
The Lord has promised in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” I believe the more Mary pondered and prayed, the more revelation she received and the more she came to know and love the God who so loved her and the world that He was sending His Son through her to be our atoning sacrifice. I am reminded of the song, Mary Did You Know?
Thanking God for CHRISTmas and the gift of knowing and growing in Him as He is my greatest Treasure and His Word is worth pondering!
You Tube- uses video from the Jesus film.