15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Who can invade the thoughts of Mary? We are driven to vague speculation. The word “ponder” is the Greek sumballo and it means “to converse, consult, dispute, and consider.” Listening carefully to the shepherds, and remembering her own angelic encounter caused her to engage in self-talk. The dispute was between doubt and the reality of a baby whose hand was wrapped around her finger. She considered the future, and how it would be forever changed.
Most of the family are still asleep. It is a cold and quiet morning and I have my thoughts as companions. I have time to remember my own encounter with my Savior. The horrors of the crucifixion were painted on my mind in a sermon when I was but twelve years old. My heart was broken because I felt personally responsible for every wound. At the altar, the pastor’s rough, bricklaying, hand enveloped mine and his broad smile welcomed me. Mercy had been given. My wounded heart, now healed, still wept with the wonder of forgiveness.
My youthful struggle with the call of God gave way to fifty years of pastoral ministry. Pondering those years brings to mind faces and names indelibly etched upon my heart. The owners of those names can hardly imagine how tightly their lives are entwined with mine.
Before us is an uncertain and fearful time. A pall of doubt and illegitimacy hangs over our entire system of government. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would navigate their way through similar treachery. Joseph would disappear from our view and Mary would ultimately kneel at the foot of her son’s cross.
While the morning is still quiet, ponder your past, your present, and your future. Deliver your past into the merciful arms of the master. Trust Jesus with your present and let Him guide you into the future.
The Backside of the Pulpit: CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR REFLECTION!
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