20/12/2021 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
A Pause to Think
As seen in the HEARTbeat and Villlage Voice
A Pause to Think
What is it about this time of year that causes us to ponder things of the past and desires of the future? Is it because we’ve come to the end of another year and still haven’t accomplished all we had set out to accomplish (for you Type-A people). Or do we survey the past year and see all the good in our lives? I believe there isn’t a person alive who does not do one of these two things. We ponder a lot in these last few weeks of the year.
The other thing we will be inundated with is TV ads, specifically for fitness center memberships. “Get in better shape,” they say. “Change how you look,” they offer. They are counting on our desire to change and the simpler and attractive they can make it, the more people will think the ad is correct. I even heard a phrase which either turned people off or got them moving immediately with promises of a group effort: “Couch potatoes unite!” It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?
Pondering is no team effort. No one has been through the year in exactly the same way as another. From sicknesses, births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and so on, our experiences are ours and ours alone. This is why we ponder on our own, trying to make decisions that will make an impact in our own lives, and eventually in the lives of others.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from the gospel of Luke. Mary is visited by an angel, as well as Joseph. He continues in the betrothal just as the angel told him. She visits her cousin Elizabeth and immediately recognized as the mother of the Messiah. Even her child inside her, John, leaps for joy in Mary’s presence. Mary and Joseph begin the long journey to Bethlehem because of the ordered census. While there, Mary gives birth. She has been through a lot, but the best is yet to come.
While they are in the stable with the newborn Jesus in the manger, shepherds come to them. They are probably so excited and talking a hundred miles an hour Mary and Joseph had to calm them down. The shepherds told them about the bright light, the angel who visited them, and how they heard all the hosts of Heaven singing. They were beside themselves with excitement. They marveled at baby Jesus. When they left the stable, I’m sure they woke people up as they praised God for all they had seen and heard.
Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary had been told many things by an angel, Elizabeth, Joseph, and now the shepherds. It was all coming together, and it was no coincidence. Mary thought of conversations past and then what was to be. She was filled with joy, and probably some measure of sadness and what her son was to be.
As we finish this year, pause and ponder the things of God over this past year. May we also look to next year with anticipation and excitement at what God is going to do for us and for His church!