By Larry D. White

President, Arkansas Baptist State Convention

Pondering like Mary

By Larry D. White

President, Arkansas Baptist State Convention

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). This is my favorite verse of the Christmas story. The scripture says Mary “treasured up.” The word that Luke used was a word that meant to “preserve.” It refers to gathering things and putting them away for safe keeping. Mary was making memories. She was collecting a sort of mental scrapbook.  

The other key word in this verse is the word, “pondered.” The Greek word means “to throw thoughts together; mull over, draw conclusions, consider, confer mentally.” Another definition for ponder is to wonder at a deep level.  Everybody ought to do some pondering from time to time.   

Mary is not the only person in the Bible who pondered. Other Bible characters pondered: Sarah pondered how she would have a child in her old age. Nehemiah pondered the rebuilding of the wall. Job pondered on a pile of ashes. Jonah pondered in the belly of a whale. Solomon pondered about everything under the sun. We are encouraged elsewhere in Scripture to ponder. Romans 12:2 states: “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Philippians 4:8 says to “meditate on good things.”  

But pondering takes time. It is something that you just can’t do in a hurry. You need time to think it over. You need to be alone. It is something that you can’t do in a crowd. You really need to be by yourself and undistracted. 

Have you ever pondered what Mary was pondering as she pondered that first Christmas? She had a lot to ponder: Here is a teenage girl, betrothed, but unmarried; she has just given birth to a child who is going to save the world. After this miraculous birth, suddenly there are angels and shepherds gathered around their temporary lodging making great declarations. Pondering is a great word for what she must have been doing.  

For several years, I have tried to carve out time, near the end of the year, to ponder like Mary. I would highly recommend you make time to ponder as well. Let me suggest a few things to mull over. 

Ponder the Providence of God. God orchestrated everything that happened in the birth story. He has been orchestrating the events of your life as well. What has happened this past year that you can only explain as the providential hand of God?  

Ponder the Presence of God. The angel said His name shall be called “Emmanuel” because He is “God with us.” Have you taken time to ponder the fact that the almighty God of this universe is always present with you? He is.  

Ponder the Peace of God. Isaiah 26:3 states: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. The true peace of God is only available when you have peace with God. 

I hope you have a wonderful and well-pondered Christmas! 

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