“ But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19
In the past few weeks, I have heard so many complaints of not having money for “this” or not having funds for “that” when it comes to Christmas. Some to the point of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” for things they just can’t afford that will only bring them a momentary joy. Many are allowing themselves to drown in debt to prove that they are loved and that they do love. So much Christmas spirit lost to being “Christmas broke!”
Others still moan that the recent elections and darkness in the world around us just ruined the season for them. Politics, prejudice and pain instead of tidings of comfort and joy.
Listening to all of groaning (and a time or two participating myself), I now think of Mary on her first Christmas. If anyone had a reason to complain, it would be her. Though the Bible does not say so, so don’t shoot me, I imagine that Mary’s First Noel is a bit different than the meek and mild story we relate on Christmas Eve.
On what should have been her honeymoon season, she was married to a good man who, nevertheless, was most likely caring for her out of obedience to God and probably not such much out of love for his betrothed wife or her unborn child. She had been forced to exit home and leave family behind because an egotistical dictator wanted to count everybody. She had spent days upon days riding a donkey, which would not have been great on any regular day, but a nightmare at nine months pregnant. And adding injury to insult, due to a lack of accommodations, would soon find herself in labor next to the very beast of burden she had just used for transportation.
Yet, I don’t remember a gripe story in Luke 2:1-20.
But it does mention in verse 19 “she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
No doubt she was amazed from the time the Angel told her that she was chosen to be the blessed mother. No doubt she was amazed when Elizabeth’s unborn child leaped in excitement at the coming of his cousin. No doubt she was amazed that Joseph chose to stick by her when he could have had her stoned. For now she was surrounded by a heavenly host pronouncing “Glory to God in the Highest” and a short time later a royal delegation would come to bestow great gifts.
But surely in her pondering, she must have thought of where they would go the next night. I wonder what her thoughts were when they ran to Egypt to escape Herod as he slaughtered innocent babies in a search to destroy the one she was cradling. Time and time again as he would be sought after, persecuted and ultimately crucified, what were her thoughts…… what might have been her complaints? Did Mary always know and consider the tests and trials of mothering the Savior of the World? How did she feel loving the one child she had that was destined to die.
I would like to think that she always knew that God would provide for her needs and for the ways of escape. I would like to think that she always trusted in God’s plan. Even in his last breaths Jesus made sure somebody was available to take care of his mother. (John 19:26-27). But I am sure, even as she sang sweet lullabies to the Son of God dressed as the Son of Man, she had her days. She was 100 percent human entrusted with the care of the 100 percent King of Glory.
Provision on the run could not have been easy. Watching Him give His all for a dark and devious world, could not have been easy. Certainly watching Him die for people who would someday complain about Christmas would be no holiday!!!!
So I admonish you (as I do myself) that if the season we call Christmas is “getting to you,” then I can almost guarantee you that your focus and pondering is in the wrong place. It isn’t in a line at a black Friday sale. It isn’t at a tree lighting ceremony. It isn’t at the annual pageant at your church this Sunday.
The true joy of Christmas is not even at the manger. It comes thirty-three years later at an empty tomb where the ultimate gift is given. He gave you salvation and peace and even a promise to be there during the lonely points when we miss those who have gone on before us. No gift you can or cannot give could ever top that. Stop trying and stop stressing.
But gift HIM your best gift. A surrendered heart that is willing to ponder Him.
See, your Christmas just got merrier!!!!