Thursday, December 22, 2011

Treasure and Ponder

It’s almost Christmas and naturally I find myself turning to Luke 2 for my bible reading this week. The story is familiar as I read it, but 2 words seem to jump from the pages and land on my heart. Treasured and pondering.

Luke 2:18-19 “…and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Luke 2:51 “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”

Mary was placed in a very unique one-of-a-kind situation. Literally. A visit from an angel. A virgin giving birth. The mother of the Savior. The Messiah born in a manger. Prophecy fulfilled. More Angels. Shepherds. Amazement. And then later, her 12 year old son goes missing and tells his parents “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  

Mary kept this information, this knowledge, this truth. She thought it through, reflected on it, and preserved it in her heart. She treasured it. She did not store it away like Christmas decorations placed in my basement and forgotten for 11 months at a time, she kept these things, carried them with her daily.

What does it look like to treasure something? Luke says that Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The Coffman Commentaries on the New Testament puts it well: “…she pondered them in her heart. This indicates that Mary continually had these things in mind, meditating upon them, and wondering, perhaps, what the full import of such things could be.”

Strong’s Concordance gives these descriptions for ‘treasured’ and ‘pondered’: to keep, observe, preserve, conserve, to mentally remember, to reckon thoroughly, to deliberate by reflection or discussion, to meet with, confer, to keep together, to watch thoroughly.

I read a devotion this week on loving God. Not merely knowing God, but moving beyond that to truly loving Him. I have to be honest, wrestle with this. I say I love God, but do I really? And just how does one move from knowledge to love?

I think Mary knew. It starts with what we treasure. What we ponder. Something carried in our heart cannot help but change us whether it be for the good or bad, it inevitably will affect us. Which will directly affect the way we think and live. And become what we love.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary makes a great point: “Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affections.”

To enliven our holy affections, we cannot just encounter the truth of the Bible and then go on about our merry way, living our lives. We’ve got to let it soak in, preserve the knowledge, meditate on it instead of letting mounds of laundry and a to-do list distract us. Reflect on the wonder of Christmas. Reckon thoroughly the concept of your Creator coming to earth. Living among humans. Giving up His position in Heaven to become a man. All so you could live. Medidate on it and be amazed. Treasure these things in your heart and ponder. Enliven your holy affections.

Merry Christmas!