It is almost Christmas and every year my kids start to decorate our house earlier than they did the previous year. But this time they decorated it even before a major holiday in Albania (Nov 28th) which is the Independence Day. We had never decorated our house before Independence Day, because this holiday requires a different house decoration which is more patriotic. But this year we did it.
And every year as soon as we put that tree up, I feel like our life rhythm changes. Unexpectedly there are more things to do, more activities, more Christmas events and the interesting thing is that we like to do more of everything.
One of the thoughts that come to my mind by the end of Christmas time is: I wish I had more time for myself to just ponder on the birth of Christ. I wish I had more time to worship, to revive my soul as I am focusing on one of the most significant moments in the history of the world: God with us!
Mary, the mother of Jesus goes through a true ordeal. First, she is asked to travel from Bethlehem to Nazareth while she is nine months pregnant. A distance of about 150km. Usually travel, and especially long distance travel, is not recommended in the ninth month of pregnancy. Some airlines don’t even allow a woman to fly after her twenty-seventh week of pregnancy, which is the seventh month! But Mary undertook a long distance trip on a donkey, and not on the kind of roads we know today.
Then Mary gave birth to her first child in a barn and put her baby to sleep surrounded by animals. Soon, she was surrounded by a bunch of shepherds who tell her about their terrifying experience of God’s light shining all around them in the fields one night, and an angel, accompanied by a multitude of heavenly beings, sending them off to see her particular baby.
So what does Mary do?
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19
To ponder means to think about something carefully in your head — to weigh it in your mind. It implies a serious process of mental activity to do in solitude – a careful consideration of all the factors involved.
Pondering is not an easy thing nowadays. We live in a culture that doesn’t encourage solitude and reflection. There are so many things that require our attention. It could be a tweet, a facebook message, or other social network signals that is calling us to do something.
But pondering or meditating is not something that needs to be lost even though the culture does not support it. Why? Psalm 107:43:
Let the one who is wise heed these things
and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
It is no accident that the first two psalms in the Bible are not prayers, but rather meditations. In fact, the very first psalm is a meditation on meditation. Why? We all know that while it is certainly possible for deep experiences of the presence and power of God to happen in many other ways, the ordinary way to “go deeper” spiritually is through meditation.
“Blessed is the man …..his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Would you join me in looking for some time in the midst of all the Christmas activities that we will be involved in during this season, to just ponder on “these things’’?
May we take those truths and the reality of “Emmanuel, God with us” and allow them to bring to our hearts the depth and width of God’s love for us, and the strength to follow Him out of a heart that loves and worships Him.
Which of God’s promises, or verses from God’s Word, are you pondering in your heart this season? Why?