Leaving the MANGER: Deep Reflection

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart,” Luke 2:19.

I have fond memories of each of our children being born. That moment of looking into the face of our first child brought chills to my body and fireworks to my brain! I looked at that cute little bundle of mess as they lifted our daughter out of Susan’s womb and whispered a question, “Who is this little person?” I remember being overwhelmed with the creative ability of God to make someone out of virtually nothing.

Of course, pictures were taken so that the memories could be secured for a lifetime.

Not so for Mary and Joseph. With Jesus arrival, as spectacular as it was, there was no way to secure a clear memory of the sacred event. But as only a mother would do, the details of Jesus wondrous arrival were safely secured in the mind of Mary. The Greek word used here for “treasured” is the word suntereo, meaning to carefully preserve something of significant value. The word is used only four times in the entire New Testament. Twice it is used of wine being placed in new wineskins so that both are “preserved”.

Mary thought of these amazing experiences often. She reflected regularly on the intervention of God in their lives. She thought often of God’s amazing grace demonstrated through the Gift of God in infant form. The details of the shepherds’ arrival, their testimony to the angelic declaration, the voice of God in their own lives, the visit of the magi, all were holy moments that would affect her forever. Many of these memorable experiences, I’m sure, are not recorded in scripture. They are reserved for the Holy Family alone. Jesus’ first cry, the moment He smiled, the first time He turned over in His crib were all precious in ways that extend beyond that of every other child. These were displays of the Almighty’s humility, strength wrapped in helpless form, an infinite God bowing to the struggles of common humanity. They spoke volumes to Mary about the nature of God. And she never loved Him more.

Yes—she treasured up all these things. They were preserved carefully for ongoing reflection. These God-moments brought her regularly into the presence of God.

The verse above also states that Mary pondered them in her heart. The word “ponder” in the original language gives the idea of reflecting deeply. It emphasizes the practice of mulling something over and over until you understand the full meaning and significance of something. Scripture sometimes presents this practice as meditation.

The Bible declares numerous impressive things about meditating on the things of God. Just listen to this!

Psalm 4:4 Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Psalm 119:99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation.

Do you see the power of deep reflection? Freedom from sin, the promise of success, and the seeds of deep insight become ours through the practice of meditating upon the things of God.

Mary was a master at this. She treasured up all these things and she reflected deeply upon them. No wonder that she is viewed with such dignity and respect. She lived to know and experience God in all of His fullness!

What about you? Do you ever ponder the things of God? Meditation is definitely a practice worth pursuing. The rewards are great, the affects significant, the joy unparalleled.

Here’s the truth of the matter: You and I will always be shallow Christians until we learn to reflect deeply and regularly upon the things of God. He is so infinite! His ways are so beyond us! His plans so incredible! His blessings so complete! But these only become ours as we are consumed to treasure and ponder these great things of God.

“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

ACTION: A great way to meditate on the things of God is to take one verse of scripture a day or week. Learn it and think about it over and over. Ask God to show you truths about this verse. Let Him show you how precious every morsel of His word is for your life…and the power it has to unleash transformation as well.

Will you choose to reflect deeply and regularly on God-things in this coming year? Tell God about your decision…