Tucked away amidst the miraculous activity on the night of Jesus’s birth, is one of my favorite moments in Scripture. Between trying to find a place to stay, giving birth in a stable, shepherds visiting her newborn baby, then leaving to tell others and finally returning to the manger again to worship, Mary does something crucial.
She stops to take it all in.
Look at what Luke 2:19 says:
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
What is Mary doing here? She’s practicing two important habits.
First, Mary treasures the moments she has just lived. In this verse, the word “treasured” means that Mary thought through everything she had just been through in order to preserve the memories and keep them in her heart and mind. She purposefully stopped to reflect on the past events in order to store them up so she could remember them. She didn’t want to forget any detail.
Have you ever had that same desire? I have. During my engagement to my husband, I heard numerous stories from women who had gotten married just a few months before me telling me their wedding day was a blur and they couldn’t even remember what happened. That scared me and made me sad to think I wouldn’t remember one of the most important days of my life.
My husband and I decided to make an intentional effort to treasure up the events of our wedding. In fact, during one of the songs in the middle of our wedding ceremony, my husband looked over at me and said, “Are you remembering this?” I loved his reminder and am so glad that when I look back on that day, I can remember many of the details.
Mary stopped in the middle of a historic night in order to capture the wonderful details. She wanted to hold tight to them and preserve them so she could look back and remember that glorious night.
The second thing Mary did in that moment was ponder on all the events that had just occurred. Pondering means to deeply consider something. Specifically in Mary’s case, she was meditating on everything that unfolded in order to make sense of it. She was trying to process the implications of the baby she held in her arms.
Implied in her acts of treasuring up and pondering is the necessity of being still. Mary could not have enjoyed the wonder of the moment or tried to understand the weight of the events had she not been intentional about being still.
What Mary Teaches Us
Mary serves as a beautiful model showing us how to treasure our moments by being still. She shows us that being still takes intentionality yet is still possible in the midst of exceptional circumstances.
We also learn that Mary made this practice a habit. Later in chapter 2, after Joseph and Mary found their missing child in the temple, Scripture tells us again that Mary, ‘treasured all these things in her heart,” (Luke 2:51).
Treasuring up, pondering and being still are interwoven. One necessitates the other. Practicing these habits helps us draw closer to our Creator. When your mind is focused on enjoying the gift of Jesus while considering how His birth brought the opportunity for salvation to you, it elicits joy.
And what a wonderful response for us to have this Christmas – joy! Joy by being still in order to treasure and ponder upon the perfect gift of our Savior!