And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
Are you a ponder-er: one who reflects and reviews important things? This season reminds me to do a little bit more of that. Christmas has come and gone once again, and now we have to decide what to do with the special memories we have experienced, or if we’ll do anything. The fuzzy, feel-good feelings as we prepared for Christmas sometimes seem to evaporate as soon as the after-Christmas sales hit, and our hearts seem to effortlessly slip back into our normal routines.
What would happen if we pondered more (if we decide to choose to mull over and consider the things that happen in our lives)? I think we’d be more grateful. Stopping to smell the roses and counting our blessings can work miracles in the busy-ness of our days. Pausing to reflect can help us to take smarter steps forward. Considering where we have been can help us to be more purposeful in where we choose to go.
Every once in a while I go back and re-read some of my journal entries through the years. It never ceases to amaze me how I can forget certain details of experiences with profound impact in my life. I thought I’d never forget one detail, but yet when I went back to review, I realized I had forgotten many. Sometimes I’ve discovered that is a good thing.
I had an extremely hurtful experience once that just seemed to break my heart at the time. I was devastated. I remember thinking, “I have an enemy for the first time in my life. And I know what I’m supposed to do with enemies… forgive.” Right away I chose to protect my spirit from bitterness and to start the process of forgiveness. (And it is a process.) I didn’t feel charitable. I felt angry and hurt. But in the midst of that angst, Truth popped in to remind me that to forgive was the right thing to do. As I reflected on that experience many years later, I discovered how wonderfully that decision had worked out for me. I still remembered the impact and a measure of the pain it had caused, but so many of the specific painful memories had fallen to the side. As I re-read the details, I just thanked God again and again for helping me choose well all those years before. That decision absolutely came back to bless me.
And it works for positive memories too. The birth of my first child was absolutely momentous in my life; it changed everything. I had assumed I would never be able to forget all the specific details of that special time (times, nurses’ names, etc.), but alas I did forget some of them. Looking through the baby book – pondering – brought back funny, delightful, and precious memories that renewed my gratitude and appreciation for each experience.
To just go about life without reflection and gratitude can affect us too. It can produce apathy in our
hearts, a lack of seeing God move in the day to day, and a lack of hope. There is positive energy built in us when we are grateful, and our understanding of God’s purpose in our lives is strengthened.
As we begin to close the chapter on this Christmas season, may we take some time to ponder. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for special friends and renewed relationship that this amazing time of year seems to bring. And I am so grateful that a baby was born over 2,000 years ago Who changed everything and grew up to become the Savior of the world. I think I will try to be more like Mary in the days ahead. I have much on which to reflect and be thankful.