With the hoopla over and done with, Christmas odds and ends now line store shelves bearing garish clearance priced stickers, just as Christmas leftovers line our refrigerator. (Is anyone going to eat the rest of this turkey? Please?) Carol singing and candle-lit services give way to the cold reality of January and our mentality shifts from the magic of it all to monotony:
back to work and school,
back to trudging through snow
and waiting for busses
and paying credit card bills…
and cleaning out the fridge.
The advent book we started but failed to finish sits on the coffee table like a half done To Do List. (I can’t read it now.) So we’ll pack it up and try for next year, just as we’ll pack up Christmas and bring it out months from now- when the Christmas baby of 2018 would be a mere 11 months old.
Still very much a baby. Still to be celebrated.
The truth is any parent, any person, knows that birth is the beginning, the mere title page, of a life unfolding. Yes the season has come to an end, but our pondering shouldn’t. Scripture records three of Mary’s ponderings:
She wondered at the words of the angel before she conceived.
She treasured in her heart the strange visitors and strange events after giving birth.
She pondered when her baby, now twelve, stayed to converse in the Jerusalem Temple rather than follow her and Joseph home. (Luke 1:29, Luke 2:19, Luke 2:51).
Who’s to say there weren’t a hundred other times Mary pondered?
I think there were. I take Mary as someone who pondered throughout life, someone who practiced contemplating, reflecting, treasuring in her heart the confusing and joyful and heartbreaking moments of life.
Do you trust God? Then allow yourself to ponder because the two are strongly linked. Pondering is not fixing, reasoning, or bargaining. Pondering is noticing what God has done and is doing and pausing to absorb and privately rejoice in his glory, even when we can’t make sense of it, even when His Glory doesn’t match up with What I Want. Life isn’t a snow globe; we can’t hold our world, shake it and shake it knowing the storm will settle and the pretty center scene will clear again right before our eyes.
Sometimes the storm doesn’t settle.
Sometimes clarity doesn’t return.
So we’re left to trust, to ponder, to treasure in our hearts.
Ponder holds hands with prayer.
Ponder bids us not to rush past, rush through, rush into but to
s l o w d o w n
so we might treasure up
who God is, what he’s done, what he’s promised to do. Even when we’re not feeling it. Even when tempest blurs our little world. Even in the thick of January.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Matt. 6:21
Moments, memories, money
That which gives you hope
The unexplainable, unexpected, undeniable
In your heart
Treasure up, treasure up,
treasure up up up
To find your heart
to find your self
to find your peace
to find your God
To dim your sight of the here and now.