It’s almost 8 am. We’ve been up since 5, which is the Time To Get Up On Christmas Morning. All the stuff has been opened, the wrapping paper gathered up, the cinnamon rolls (from a can, as the skies didn’t open up and God didn’t give me ambition last night) baked and (mostly) eaten. 2 pots of coffee have been perked and consumed. Each one of us is doing something quiet and peaceful. Himself is napping, with soft commentary from #1 about how much of a blessing it is to be able to fall asleep so quickly. #1 is messing with his new smartphone. #2 is also napping, wrapped in a soft new bathrobe. #3 is in Alabama, probably eating something strange that Gran made, and #4 is on the computer, messing with his new game. I am, obviously, tapping away on the computer.
Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
I love Christmas. Every single part of it. I love the singing of carols and the sermons about what-all was going on leading up to Jesus’ birth. Sunday the sermon was from Luke 2:19, about Mary pondering what was going on…I ponder that too. Pondering is more than just thinking about something. It’s looking at it from all angles, holding it close to your heart, mentally chewing it over and over. He (the pastor) talked about how much Mary had to ponder, from the very beginning when God told her she was going to have a baby, right up to the end when He was crucified. I ponder on that too. I think about my own kids, and how far I’d go to protect them, how hard it is to let them go off and be men, how much it would hurt if I knew they would die a horrible death, even if it were for a very good reason. It’s that whole “I’d jump in front of a bus to save them” sort of thing. How did Mary feel about all that? I mean, she KNEW that Jesus was the Son of God, sent here for a very real purpose, but she was also His mom, the woman who changed His diapers and bandaged a skinned knee and fixed His favorite food on His birthday. How fast did His life go by, for her? In my mind, even though my kids are all grown men, I can still see them with diapers and skinned knees and asking for every fried food there is for their birthday dinner. How hard was it for her to know her Son was going to live a hard life and be despised so much He’d be crucified? How hard did she have to think about it? As a mom of sons, who thinks about what kind of mess they’re going to get into next, I understand pondering about them. I also understand being proud of them, being amazed by the stuff they’re capable of, and being surprised when they do something beyond what I think they’re capable of. Imagine how Mary felt when Jesus outsmarted the rabbis in the temple when he was 12-ish. I remember being surprised when my kids would say something wise beyond their years…and proud too. She was probably smart enough to know He was more God’s Son than her own, but that mother thing was still there. Luke 2:41-52 says He wasn’t with the crowd when they left Jerusalem, and Mary kinda freaked out and fussed Him up a bit, and then He behaved Himself after that. I know my kids would be better for a while after a freak-out and fuss-up.
Anyway, for me, Christmas is a time to ponder. I know that it’s got all sorts of pagan stuff, with the trees in the house and yule logs and stuff. I don’t care. I know that it has become this commercial juggernaut with catalogs and ads telling us to buy more so people will know we love them. I don’t really care about all that. Sure, I love stuff, who doesn’t? But really, here lately (like the past several years), it’s a good time to ponder stuff. Introspection, treasuring up the incredible gift God gave mankind…the whole of mankind past, present and future…because He wanted to, not because we deserved it or anything, that’s what Christmas is for. That it’s near some pagan day of celebration, I don’t care. It’s a good time to break up the school year. It’s right there in half of it. It’s winter and cold(-ish, hopefully), (if you live in the Northern hemisphere, or smack in the middle of Summer if you don’t)…so it’s a good time for a party. So I like the pretty decorations, the lights and wrapping paper and getting up at 5 a.m. to see what sort of fancy thing Himself got me…I’d be lieing (lying? the one where you tell a lie, not the one where you’re relaxing on a chaise in the sun…you know what I mean) if I said I didn’t like all that. But it’s also a great time to consider and remember what God did for us, and continues to do for us, and will keep doing.
It’s also a great excuse to eat too much.