Ponder and Praise

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Ponder. Have you been doing that lately? Isn’t that what practicing Advent is all about? Taking the time to thoughtfully weigh the significance of the gift of Christ. There were 400 years from the prophesy of Malachi to the Advent of Christ. Four Hundred years, between the Old and New Testaments. Then, He comes. The Flesh that fulfills the Law and joins the Old and New and makes a way for us to be welcomed back into the heart of God. The hopeful anticipation of the Messiah is fulfilled in this little Babe.

After an angel tells Mary she will carry in her womb the Son of God. After an arduous journey to Bethlehem. After labor and delivery in a stable. After she swaddled Him and made Him a manger-bed. After a star appears overhead that had never been. After angels sent shepherds fearfully scurrying to see this Miracle, and left proclaiming it “widely.” After all this, the Scriptures say:

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

In contrast to this pondering of Mary; can you think with me that we might ponder things at times that are of such little significance? The fruits of that kind of pondering are worry and discontent. This should tell us that maybe we are giving significance to things that are certainly not worthy and that are out of our control and we should be following the advice of the Apostle Paul.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

The heart of woman is a very precious thing. It is tender and strong and made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) It is scientifically known that the brain of a man and a woman operate differently in relation to their emotional system. Those differences are good and right because God does not make mistakes in His creating. God created woman, out of man, to have characteristics that complement him and yes, help him; because it was not good that man was alone.

“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18.

Later on, in Luke 2, we see this mother’s heart again. Anxious, worried to death. And she scolds her Son for being the fault of it. Which one of us mothers has not been there? Jesus was 12, that age for me and my sons was precarious. Love them to death one minute, ready to knock their block off the next. But this is Jesus, after all. In the Scriptures it says that He stayed back in the temple when the family had taken off to head back home to Nazareth. A frantic mother and father searched for him among the crowds and He was nowhere to be found. So they traipse all the way back to Jerusalem and, finally, there He is.

“So when they see Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” Luke 2:48.

Now if I were writing the Scriptures, I would have used several exclamation points. You know I like them. I am sure Mary was quite emotional, because she is a female, and we are emotional. I can imagine her thoughts, God had given her His Son to raise and she lost Him. I felt that way with my own kids. Children are gifts from God, raising them is holy work. When I see those pictures of missing children, my heart aches for their families. All I can do is know that God knows where they are and pray for them.

Mary calmed down when Jesus reminded her.

“And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

I can imagine Mary’s expression at that point. I would have probably thought, give me a break. This is hard, this raising of You. And then she pondered again, she did not understand it, because she was like us. She did what she could do, I imagine she held her tongue (unlike me) and… “kept all these things In her heart.” Luke 2:51. Because this is what a mother does. We keep all those things that we don’t know what to do with in our hearts. All the memories of the times our children bless us so much we could burst. All those times they worry us to the bone. All of it. Deep. In our hearts.

There are the ponderings that lead us to the sin of worry. And there are ponderings that lead us straight into praise. To the praise of our God. Who is and does more for us than we could ever deserve or imagine. All this grace upon grace. Unmerited favor. Ponder and praise on this today!

 

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