If y’all are like me, the holidays are often a whirlwind and by the time January gets here, you feel like you’ve been chewed up and spit out! I love the Christmas season, and I really try to keep the true meaning at the center, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the Santa insanity and holiday hoopla! If I am being honest here, I still have boxed up Christmas decorations in my living room to put in the attic, but I am just too darn spent to do it!
Like most people though, January is a time that I like to try to freshen up my life. I like to deep clean my house after all that Christmas décor is put away, reorganize and clean out closets, set up a new calendar for the year, and make commitments to myself to do “better” this year than last year. And during the first few weeks of the year, I enjoy thinking about what happened after Jesus’s birth. It’s just a few short weeks until Easter, until we celebrate His resurrection. A lot happened during the short 33 years between His birth and death. A whole lot…
Tucked in the book of Luke, just after the shepherds visit but before the wise men arrive, is one of my favorite verses of the Bible. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Chapter 2, verse 19) We live in a society where everybody puts everything out for public display. If your neighbor’s kid refuses to eat breakfast, you know about it. If your friend had a fight with her boyfriend, you know about it. (But it’s OK, because tomorrow he will be the sweetest man alive again!) Very little these days is for private thought or introspection, but that’s what I love about Mary.
Mary was a young, unwed girl when she got the news that she was pregnant. Teen pregnancy without marriage doesn’t make us shudder today, but at that time it was a source of great shame. And now, Jesus was here and all these people were seeing angels and stars and coming to visit and bringing expensive gifts. Word was spreading that Mary had a baby, and he was something special! But Mary didn’t go blabbing to everyone about how great her kid was. She wasn’t shouting at her family, “See! I told y’all!” Mary treasured up all the things in her heart she was experiencing with her child and hearing about her child. And she pondered them in her still, quiet way. I feel certain the months leading up to this weren’t easy on Mary. I am sure she faced scorn and embarrassment. And let’s not forget Joseph! He was a pretty tough cookie to get through this too! But here they were now, humbled by God’s grace and goodness.
We face many things in this world today, good and bad, and I don’t know what 2020 will bring for you and the ones you love. But I have a few favorite verses that I pray for us all in the coming year, verses that will hopefully strengthen and encourage us no matter what comes our way. First, remember that God works ALL things together for our good, for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28). Secondly, whatever you commit to do this year, commit it to Him, and He will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3). And lastly, some things are meant just for you! Keep your eyes and ears open to the love song He is writing for you! Treasure those moments, those words, those memories in your heart, and ponder them often. God’s wooing you closer to Him this year, and He does it in a very personal way! He created you. He knows you more intimately than anyone and loves you more deeply than you can imagine. You matter to God! Whatever storms come this year, there is great peace in knowing He is in control and working things out for your good. May your heart be full of these treasures!