As the Christmas season ends, I like to look at Mary’s perspective. Her life has been turned upside down in the last year. She went from being a young girl excited about marriage to encountering angels, facing expulsion or even worse, death. The government has caused her world to turn upside down, there is political strife everywhere, and the last thing she wants to hear anymore about is taxes.
Far from home, she looks at Joseph. He’s been amazing through all of this, by the way. If you read between the lines, you can see that this young couple still haven’t consumated their marriage (“A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son” says the old prophecy). He’s been visited by angels, too. And he still shakes his head in amazement at the shepherds who just left.
There is so much to reflect on, so much to think about as she holds the baby, the One the angel said would save His people from their sins. They’ve named Him Jesus, just like the angel told them. Thinking about what the shepherds said–“An angel told us the Savior was born in Bethlehem!”–and the fact that they rushed out shouting about it to everyone they encountered, she’s wondering about it all.
But the Bible make clear that Mary didn’t freak out. She didn’t start to worry or fret because the next phase of their lives wasn’t clear. They didn’t know what would come next, but Mary just stopped. The Bible says that “Mary pondered all these things.” When was the last time you pondered anything?
To ponder means to “think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.” She didn’t jump to conclusions about what it all might mean, she paused, stopped, and carefully reviewed everything that had happened. And then she “kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” (Luke 2:19, NLT)
As you look to the future, perhaps pausing and pondering what has happened would be good.
Whether your year was amazing or awful, whether you look forward to the next year or have a bit of trepidation, I get it. You don’t know what is coming next. Neither do I. But I encourage you to take heart. Maybe, in the next 24 hours, before the New Year begins, find time to stop and pause and think. (Contemplate. Consider. Review. Reflect on. Mull over. Meditate on. Muse on. Deliberate about. Dwell on. Ruminate on.)
You get it. Just take some time to follow Mary’s lead, in the moments before the next year begins, think about all of the things that went right, all that could have gone better, and all the places that Emmanuel can speak into in the coming phase of life. Mary didn’t know it, but confirmation about everything God had promised was coming, from people she’d never expect.
Your confirmation will come, too. It may come in an unexpected way, from an unexpected source. So don’t worry or fear or fret or stress out. In the quiet before it all begins again, pause and ponder and rest. You don’t know what’s coming next, but He does.
And He will be there.