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Return of the King - Advent 2016

December 24, 2016 – The Way of Contemplation

“When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
– Luke 2:15-19

Treasuring and Pondering the Miracle of Christmas

Mary had gone through a nine-month ordeal she’d never forget. She’d been visited by an angel and told that, though a virgin, she’d soon be pregnant. Then, he’d told her that the baby’s name would be Jesus. She’d carried the son of God for nine months – feeling him kick and move inside her. She and her husband had journeyed to his hometown of Bethlehem and now, finally, she had gone through labor and delivered a baby boy.

But that’s not all. Shepherds came in from the fields and told Mary that the host of heaven had appeared to them and told them that the baby she now cradled would be their savior – their messiah – their lord.

Can you imagine what was going on in the mind of this teenage girl? Can you imagine all of the hopes? The expectations? The fears? The doubts? The concerns?

Mary could easily have been carried away into a dozen different worrisome directions.

And yet, we read that “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

I believe Christians need to take a cue from Mary and spend a lot more time pondering and a lot less time worrying. For too many Christians, faith is skewed. On one hand, it can become a lifeless thing – mere tradition. On the other hand, it can become a theological puzzle – all about debate and argument.

But Mary shows us another way. She shows us the way of contemplation.

Walking in the Way of Contemplation

If we follow Mary’s example, we’ll recognize the glory of God’s work but we won’t have a need to tame it. We won’t have to explain it. We won’t need to debate it. Instead, we’ll be happy to simply treasure it and ponder it.

Christmas is coming. There will be so many things that attempt to draw your mind away. But don’t fall for it.

Instead, allow this holy season to be filled with treasuring all that God has done, is doing, and will do.

Ponder God’s character and works. Reflect on his goodness as revealed in the baby Jesus. Consider his humble love.

Don’t worry about explaining it. Don’t waste time debating it. And certainly don’t worry about it.

Today isn’t the time for that.

No. Now is the time for treasuring and pondering.

May we follow in Mary’s footsteps.

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