As we pack Christmas away, may the message and power of this true eternal story remain with us. The end of the year lends itself to times of reflection.
Scripture records two occasions when Mary “treasured.” Both times came after experiencing something beyond her understanding and imagination.
Luke 2:19 records that “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” This time of consideration came after Jesus was miraculously conceived, and birthed and now she held the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world, in her arms. There are no words to express the joy and wonder felt as you finally look into the eyes of your newborn after months of anticipation, but to hold the Son of God, as Mary experienced, is more than we can begin to comprehend. What a great gift! She had so much to treasure and even more to ponder.
The next time Mary treasured was after her young son, Jesus, had been missing for three days. When she found Him in the temple, Jesus’ response to Mary was, “Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s house?” Of course, she didn’t know. The Bible goes on to share, “…they did not understand the statement He had made to them.” How could she understand why her boy had left her side to teach men in the temple? She just couldn’t. Luke 2:51 states, “…and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
In his commentary, Matthew Henry discusses the act of treasuring:
“The truths of Christ are worth keeping; and the way to keep them safe is to ponder them. Meditation is the best help to memory. That which at first is dark, so that we know not what to make of it, may afterwards become plain and easy; we should therefore lay it up for hereafter.”
Mary set an example to all of us: When we are troubled, we must treasure. God is always at work beyond our limited understanding. Darkness is always light to God (Psalm 139:12), but honestly, always appears dark to us – in our experience, understanding and knowledge of the work God is doing on our behalf and for His glory.
When my children were in the home, we were intentional about one-on-one moments expressing different emotions we were feeling i.e. what made us sad, what made us happy, etc. This helped me learn how to pray for them. Their responses were recorded in a journal that I updated each time we shared. As we closed out the year, our family followed Mary’s example of reflection. We each filled out our “Year-At-A-Glance” to share together on New Year’s Day. You may want to take time to think through these questions and plan a time of intentional sharing with your family. You may discover something you want to treasure or jot down an experience you will need to ponder before the Lord.
What made you happy?
- What made you happy this year?
- Were there any special celebrations?
- What do you look forward to in 2019?
What made you sad?
- Did you experience something painful or difficult?
- What was your biggest lesson learned from this?
What did you treasure?
- What memories did you make?
- Did God answer a specific prayer need or teach you something?
What causes you to wonder? What is your current prayer request or area you are surrendering to the Lord?
- How did God care or provide for you in practical, or in supernatural ways?
- How did God use you to bless someone?
Psalm 68:5, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
To the fatherless: How did God “Father” you?
To the widow: How did God care for you as your Defender and covering now that your husband is gone?
May this next year be a season of treasuring and trusting the truth that God hasn’t left your side. He loves you and He cares. God will provide, protect, and be near to you as you ponder.