I have an ideal environment in which to ponder. I’m in it right now as I type this post. Comfy clothes and slippers, my favorite blanket on my lap. My house is a balmy 66 degrees (yes, that’s balmy for me). I’m sipping my coffee, and Pandora is playing my Christmas Instrumental station softly in the background. These are my criteria for practically perfect pondering. However, these ideally crafted moments are so rare because, you know, life. If I only pondered when I could set up this exact scenario, it would happen like once a year. I’m sure the same thing could be said of you. Our houses are never quiet enough or free of enough distractions to sit down and contemplate.
Growing up, we always read Luke 2 first thing Christmas morning. Mostly my dad read it out loud to us, but sometimes he let us read it to the rest of the family. I still carry on this tradition by always starting my Christmas with Luke 2, and sometimes I even read it out loud, even though I’m fairly certain my dog doesn’t really care about it. There’s something about starting Christmas day with the reminder of why we celebrate.
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
What did Mary ponder in that moment? She had a lot she could’ve pondered, especially over the last nine months of her life. An angel came and foretold that she would give birth to the Son of God, having never known a man. An angel also told her betrothed that she was pregnant by God and not to put her away but to marry her. She travelled a long way at nine months pregnant in order to obey the decree and participate in the census. She gave birth in a stable because there was no room in the inn. Shepherds had come to them in Bethlehem and rushed in to witness what the angels had spoken to them on the hillside.
So many things to ponder for Mary.
Just thinking isn’t necessarily the same as pondering. I think all the time. About work, about my general schedule, about when I will do laundry, about when the half and half in my fridge will expire.
Pondering gives the connotation of deep consideration or meditation. Pondering is heavier, more meaningful… an action of the heart, not just the head. There’s a head, heart, hands connection to be made here – think in the head, ponder in the heart, act with the hands.
Don’t you think that pondering Christ more this Christmas season would yield fruit in our lives? Wouldn’t it make hospitality less burdensome? Wouldn’t it make speaking about Christ to others easier? Wouldn’t it help us love the difficult people in our lives? Be more patient with our kids? Be willing to serve and respect our spouses? Open our eyes wider to the needs around us?
Yes, it would!
And we don’t have to cultivate the perfect environment for pondering. To borrow (and/or slaughter) a phrase from a Christmas carol, we can ponder as we wander. It can be stolen moments in the car or in the shower or doing dishes…you get the idea.
Let’s remember Who our focus is this Christmas season…and joyfully ponder as we wander.