But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart - Luke 2:19Mary often gets overlooked. This woman chosen by God to bear the Savior of the World and nurture him to adulthood barely gets more than a nod at Christmastime by many people. Of all the women throughout history, she is the one chosen by God to be the means by which Christ enters the world. What an amazing indicator of her availability to God and her willingness to be faithful.
There are many things we can learn from Mary, but one of the facets of her life that profoundly speaks to me and my life is this simple quote from Luke. Here, in the midst of all of the busyness around her that included crowds, a noisy stable, her new child, and shepherds declaring God's revelation to them, Mary takes it all in, holds on to these things as treasures, and ponders them in her heart. What a great message at Christmas and what a wonderful lesson for life.
The holiday season is always busy, sometimes far too busy. It is easy to get lost in the multitude of tasks and commitments that come this time of year. There is the list of family traditions that simply must be maintained, while new requirements and expectations are created. Work continues, and even includes more responsibility with year-end paperwork, planning for 2012, and more meetings and parties than any other time. In the midst of all of these activities, the other aspects of life continue. Things need repaired, bills must be paid and personal challenges still exist. All of these expectations and this activity can seem overwhelming at times.
The well-know psychologist Carl Jung once said, "Hurry is not of the devil, hurry is the devil." Profound words that speak to our lifestyle, not only at Christmas, but at all times. We fill our lives with activity and busyness, all the while edging out the time for reflection and meditation. We become so busy living our life, that we lose the time to appreciate it in the process.
Here is where we need the heart and attitude of Mary. Sometimes, we simply need to stop, take in what is happening in our life and ponder it quietly with God. Like Jesus, who would take time to go to the mountainside to pray, we need time to bring our life before God and receive God's direction for our next steps. We need the Holy Spirit to help us mine the treasures out of our daily experience so that we can see the holy treasures that surround us.
This morning, as I write this, I am facing a task that I do not want to do. I know it will take more time than I want and require a significant amount of mental and emotional energy to complete. My thoughts keep becoming caught up as I ponder the task and my desire to procrastinate. Yet, I am aware that as I actively ponder this task, I am missing numerous treasures that surround me.
Today will be what it will be, and what needs to be done, must be done, but I do not need to surrender my blessing in the process. Just as Mary found a way to hold fast to the blessing of God in the midst of her experience, I too can open my eyes to God's gifts in this moment. We all can, and that is the real beauty of our relationship with God. At any moment, we can look with God's eyes and see the treasures that surround us.
Here are just a few I am savoring this morning. Maybe, they will inspire you to find something similar in you day as well:
- The sunshine flooding the room on this crisp winter day
- The warmth of my home, both physically and emotionally
- My family and the love we share with one another
- The quietness of this moment
- My friends who bring richness to my life
- The coffee and bagel that nourished me this morning and tasted so good
- The Scripture and words of life it spoke to me as I read it earlier
- The presence of God calming my spirit and empowering me for the day ahead
- The knowledge and hope that I can do all things through Christ
- The joy that comes from knowing that I am a friend of God
Even as I write this list, I see more reasons to treasure this day. May you find them in your life as well and ponder them in your heart, and may the true spirit of Christmas bring life to your spirit and your busy schedule as well.