Saturday, December 18, 2021

Advent Words Day 21 ~ Ponder


Day 21: Ponder

I have published today’s devotion before, but I could not think of a better way to express today’s word than with these words.

"Great are the works of the LORD;

they are pondered by all who delight in them.

Glorious and majestic are his deeds,

and his righteousness endures forever.

Psalm 111:2-3


Luke 2:1-20 tells the story of the birth of Jesus. We read in this passage that Joseph and Mary had to travel late in her pregnancy to go to the town of Bethlehem for a mandatory census. While in Bethlehem Mary goes into labor and her baby, Jesus, is born. Because they had not been able to find a room to rent, they had to use a stable. And so, Mary wrapped baby Jesus in cloths and placed him in a manger.


On that same night an angel of the Lord, shining with God's glory, appears to some shepherds at work in the fields. "Do not be afraid." He tells them. "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." At this news a "great company of heavenly host" appear. I imagine that they fill the sky and light it up as if the sun were shining. The angels begin to praise God.

"Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on

whom his favor rests"


The shepherds immediately take off for Bethlehem and find Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, just as the angel of the Lord had said. They spread the word the angel of the Lord had given them, that this baby lying in a manger is the Savior. He is Christ the Lord, the promised Messiah. All who heard this were amazed. The shepherds eventually returned to their home "glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard".


Stuck in this passage, right before the story ends, is one sentence with Mary's response to these events:

"Mary treasured up all these thing and pondered them in her heart."

We have a clue to what Mary was treasuring and pondering in her heart. We have the events recorded by Luke in chapter 1 that reveal that Mary herself had been visited by an angel of the Lord. The angel had revealed to her the very things he revealed to the shepherds, so their words were not news to her, but rather confirmation. She had given birth to a king! Mary pondered the great, glorious and majestic works of the Lord. She reflected on them and treasured them in her heart.

"The Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name." Luke 1:49



A line from the hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty comes to my mind,

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do…


I read about Mary's response, and I think, "I want that kind of faith.” The kind of faith that immediately sees God's hand at work in every situation. A faith that is at rest in knowing that God will do as He has promised. Me, I probably would have focused on my circumstances, looking for a solution, and then turning to God in prayer once I had exhausted all my own resources. But if you read chapters 1 and 2 of Luke, you see Mary, time after time, looking to the Lord and praising Him for His work in her life. You don't see a shred of doubt, not a glitch of worry or anxiety. She doesn't fret over her circumstances, or even try to manage them on her own. Mary is focused on God. For that kind of faith, I think that Mary must have had a life that was filled with the Scriptures. And she alludes to that in her song in Luke 1:46-55, referencing the mighty works of the Lord in the past, in Israel's history. She would have heard in the temple the prophecies of the coming Savior, the Messiah - the One that was hoped for. When the angel came to her, she believed. I want Mary's kind of faith. I believe this is the role of the scriptures in our lives. I can read Mary's story and witness her faith and from it I can have hope. God used this young, humble teenage girl to birth the Savior of the world. Mary's faith in believing what God says he will do encourages me and is my example of how-to live-in faith and in hope.


Share how you express today's word on social media using #adventwords2021. You can also share in the Words Challenge Facebook Group. 

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