But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19
I love nativity sets. I have a small collection but through the years I have lost some of the pieces from the different sets. I just love the beauty of everyone standing around Baby Jesus – the angels, Shepherds, Kings, animals, Joseph, and Mary. Mary, standing over Baby Jesus, treasuring and pondering.
Mary is experiencing the birth of her child – the Son of God – along with the difficulty of having to travel to Bethlehem for the census. It was a long trip, on a donkey. It was very uncomfortable in the least.
They finally arrive only to find out their reservation they booked was given away – to literally everyone else. There was not one available room in the city, so they stayed in the stable. Contrary to the. popular nativity scene, there was most likely a bunch of donkeys in the stable with them and not a lot of other animals. This was the stable for the inn – the inn that was full, so all those people occupying that inn had traveled on something and most likely whatever animal they traveled on was tied up in that stable.
Mary labors and gives birth to the Son of God, the King of Kings, in the hay. She then wraps Him in swaddling clothes and lays Him in the manger. There was no palace, no fanfare, no parade to herald His birth – at least not in the city. We know there was a whole host of angels heralding His coming in the fields outside of the city.
I wonder if Mary expected it to play out differently. She knew she was carrying the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, true royalty. I know expectations I place on how Christmas should go sometimes cause me to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out that way. Did she expect that she would give birth in a palace?
Mary had very little detail about what the birth of the baby she was carrying would be like. If she knew the Old Testament prophecy, she knew it would be in Bethlehem, but that is all. Nothing more.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
Mary may have had expectations, but maybe not. She had completely yielded herself to God; And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 When we can answer the Lord like this, all our expectations are given to Him, and our unmet expectations disappear. David Guzik said Mary’s response is the proper response of every believer to every promise of God. We yield to Him and give Him the control and the glory.
If Mary had any unmet expectations, she certainly did not let it ruin this most glorious and truly beautiful moment in her life. Instead, she treasured and pondered.
Don’t let your unmet expectations steal the special moments you have with your family. We can never know exactly what was going through Mary’s mind, but the Bible tells us that she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
As a woman, and as a mother, I believe all the seasons of life leave us treasuring and pondering. Almost thirty years after my first Christmas with my first baby, I am still treasuring and pondering, it just looks a little different now than it did then. It seems that I think more things are worth treasuring now then when my kids were little. Christmas then was just trying to get it all done, making sure we didn’t throw away any toys or parts accidentally, putting together the toys they got, watching new movies, playing with new games, and don’t forget successfully NOT burning down the church during TWO candlelight services each year. That is 38 candlelight services with four children – but who’s counting?????
Now as they are grown, the times we all have together are very few. The times I have with even one of them at a time is few and far between. Miles separate us as well as the busyness of life. But when I get them close, I do treasure and after they are gone, I ponder. I hold the moments close that we have and soak up every detail about them when we are together. Being together and loving each other is what Christmas is all about, more than all the superficial expectations we can place on ourselves to make it perfect.
So mama, drop your expectations and spend your Christmas treasuring and pondering. Begin with treasuring the gift of our Savior’s birth and what it means for us. So many gifts flow from that one tiny baby’s birth. Then treasure the moments you have with your kids this week, not how the tree looks, or how the turkey and ham turned out, not how many gifts you have or don’t have under the tree. Treasure them, and then ponder. And keep treasuring and pondering every day as you remember the promises of God and all the promises He has already fulfilled in your life.
Treasure Him, Treasure Them, and Ponder.