As a mother, there are times in our lives when our love for our children is overwhelming. Times when something takes place that we want to remember forever. We want to capture it and tuck it away in our hearts to bring back out to cherish over and over again. We want to wonder about its meaning and its significance. This is what I believe Mary was doing in Luke 2:19.
She had just given birth to a baby boy in a lowly stable. The shepherds had just visited and told her about the angelic choir they had just witnessed and how they had been told that a Messiah had been born and exactly where to find him. The shepherds were exuberant and made it known throughout the area.
Mary is there in the middle of it all, exhausted from her labor, so young and overwhelmed with the task she has been given. She feels the wonder of the moment; she loves her little boy with all her heart already. Yes, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, but I don’t think he stayed there long. As any mother would have done, Mary probably picked him up and held that precious child in her arms as soon as she was able. She would be kissing his forehead and checking his fingers and toes, in awe of how perfectly made he was. The knowledge that this child was special and the Son of the Most High God would have been too much to grasp, yet that is what she was told by the angel so many months ago. And in her heart she knew it to be true, though she didn’t yet understand all that it meant.
In the midst of this humble yet majestic scene so long ago, what did Mary do? In Luke 2:19 it tells us, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
She tucked these moments and events away in her heart to treasure and to dwell on. It was all too much to explain, too much to understand or comprehend. She believed every word and trusted in God with a true servant’s heart, but she couldn’t grasp the intense significance or know the impact of what had just occurred. She did what a mother does and tried to imprint that moment in time on her heart and into her mind. She wanted to be able to recall all these events later and think on them, ponder them. She wanted to hear again what the shepherds told her and begin to understand how everything that happened to her and Joseph on this journey was for great purpose. She could put the pieces together bit by bit as time went on and she raised her son and watched him grow.
I can’t help but wonder if while Mary was standing at the foot of the cross nearly 33 years later, if she was still placing events in her heart. She was overwhelmed again, this time with pain at watching Jesus be tortured and killed. Yet, I believe she still trusted in God to fulfill his promises, she had seen too much to believe otherwise.
Mary was a sinful, fallible human. People like to lift her high, pray to her, and even worship her. Mary would be disgusted; she would be appalled that we would even consider such despicable acts. However, we can learn a great lesson from Mary.
Throughout Mary’s earthly life she was watching and learning and treasuring all she could about Jesus. Putting pieces together little by little as she grew to understand more and more of who he was. This is what we need to be doing. We need to treasure up in our heart all that God has done in our lives and ponder his Words to us. We need to recall what he has to say to us in his gift of the Scriptures and think on these things continually. As we mature we should be seeing more and more of who Christ is and why things are the way they are. The closer we walk with him, the more he reveals to us.
This Christmas, treasure Jesus in your heart above all. Think on him and what he has done and what his life on earth was about. Ponder why he was born as a human, why he lived as he did and what caused him to die on a cross for you. Do not allow holiday busyness to push him aside so that you can indulge in material overabundance. Keep Christ at the center of all you do. If your heart and mind are set on Jesus this Christmas the rewards are eternal. Treasure and ponder your Savior.