“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, ESV). In the midst of the dust and the noise and the cries of a newborn, Mary stopped and pondered all that had just happened. The Greek word translated as ponder means, “to put one thing with another in considering circumstances.” Mary wasn’t simply thinking about her day or gazing in awe at the newborn King. As Elizabeth George puts it, “[She] thought through the words and events together, considering how they fit together, comparing them to prophecy, weighing them against what she knew of her God, carrying their message to her heart.” Another author puts it this way, “Mary reflected on this momentous event in history. Of all the women of Israel she was the mother of the Messiah!”
Luke 2:19 is one of my favorite verses in the Christmas story because it reminds me to be still in the midst of the busyness of the season. Most of us are finishing weeks of rushing from event to event, of accomplishing task after task. From November to January our schedules are insane, and our minds are full. We rarely take time to stop and quiet our hearts. To reflect on how the Father has worked in our heart, our family, our ministry in the past year. To sit and process all He has done, all we have experienced. From our shouts of thanksgiving to our tears of sorrow. Everything is in His hands and part of His plan. We know this. We believe this.
All of our joys and sorrows are interwoven in His plan. The joy of arriving in a new country is coupled with the sorrow of leaving family. The joy of new friendship is tied to the sorrow of goodbyes. The joy of a child graduating from high school is followed by the sorrow of dropping them off at college.
Perhaps you’re like me, and 2018 was a whirlwind. December is over, and you aren’t sure how you got from the beginning to the end of the year in one piece. At the beginning of 2018 I never imagined I would be diagnosed with cancer in January or would start a job I’d only dreamed of in August. I didn’t anticipate another move or months of waiting for resolution in regard to my husband’s health. Yet looking back I see how the cancer and the unknowns led to open doors and steps of faith. Doors we wouldn’t have ever dreamed of going through and steps of faith that have strengthened my walk with the Lord and our marriage.
Just as Mary pondered how God was using her and how His plan was unfolding, I challenge all of us (myself included) to do the same. As we enter a new year, stop and ponder how His plan played out in your life in 2018. Take an hour or a day (or however many minutes you can spare) and write down the joys and the sorrows from this year. See how they are interwoven. Look for ways to praise the Father for His goodness and for specific requests to bring before Him during 2019. Praise Him for His plan of redemption woven throughout Scripture and for how He is at work in your life and ministry.
We’d love to hear in the comments how God wove together your 2018 and how looking back on the year helped you reflect on and see His goodness to you.
W.E. Vine, Merril F. Unger and William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996), 476.
Elizabeth George, Women Who Loved God, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1999).
John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament Edition, (Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Publishing), 208.
We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.
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