Each time we read a familiar passage from Scripture, we can see and hear it in new ways. Different words or phrases cause us to stop and think about the text differently. As we heard the story about Jesus’ birth tonight, which verses stand out for you? As I’ve prepared to preach, I’ve been thinking about this verse: “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
I imagine that Mary – like most mothers – remembered many of the moments of her pregnancy, living them over and over again, sharing them with Joseph, and with the trusted women in her life. Nine months gives us all plenty of time to treasure and ponder God’s ways in our lives.
She treasured the coming of the angel, to announce her pregnancy with a special child, the Son of God, sent to be the Savior of the world, and pondered what it would mean as the child grew up.
She treasured telling Joseph about the pregnancy, and how hard it was for him to believe her at first. She treasured Joseph’s story about the angel who told him the baby was God’s plan. And together they pondered how to raise a child to be the Son of God.
She treasured her memory of visiting Elizabeth, who also was pregnant in a miraculous way, with a child God sent for God’s purposes. She and Elizabeth pondered together why God had chosen them instead of some other women, and sang together Mary’s song: My soul magnifies the Lord.
She often pondered the questioning looks and remarks she got from her neighbors when she and Joseph married so quickly. And she pondered what would come of her child, born into such a judgmental world.
She treasured the first time she felt Baby Jesus move in her belly, and treasured the changes to her body as Jesus grew and grew inside her.
She pondered the decision to travel with Joseph, even though she could have stayed in Nazareth with her mother. Each mile they traveled made her question their decision more and more. But, perhaps they decided together that the child needed to be born in Bethlehem, and the only thing to ponder was why they waited so long to go there.
She quickly forgot the pain of childbirth as she cuddled her new baby. As she held her child, the child promised by God, she pondered what he would be like as he grew. She remembered the song she sang as she praised God for the new world to come, and sang it again for her new baby. My soul magnifies the Lord.
After the shepherds came and told their own story of angels, Mary treasured the joy it brought to them to hold the new baby, and pondered with renewed hope and faith just what would become of her child.
When the Magi came and paid homage to her child, she treasured their gifts, and pondered how they would use them in years to come.
What are you treasuring and pondering tonight? Are you pondering the worries that beset all of us? Are you pondering how to pay for your Christmas gifts? Are you pondering how long your good health will last? Are you pondering what will become with your children and grandchildren? What else are you pondering?
Are you pondering and treasuring how much God loves you – yes, even you? Are you treasuring and pondering the hope that Jesus came to earth to give human voice to God’s heart? Are you pondering and treasuring that you – yes, even you – are worth dying for?
In the midst of your worrying and pondering, remember also to treasure and ponder the miracle of the birth of God’s Son.
Imagine holding him the way Mary did, cuddling him, loving him, pondering what his coming means for you.
Ponder trusting him to love you as much as he loves Mary and Joseph.
Treasure that love as you go through each and every day.
Please pray with me: We praise you, O God, and give you thanks for the gift of Jesus, your Son. Help us to treasure all that you give to us, especially your love, and share your love in ways that helps others ponder your gifts as well. Amen