Things to Ponder
Hope - Week One
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Christmas was just around the corner. We were in Kansas City and I was great with child. The doctor had given his orders…I would not be going home for the holidays. Every time I thought about it tears ran down my face and the words seemed captured in my throat. Christmas, for the Embry family was very traditional. My Uncle Paul would most likely be wearing his “candy cane” shirt. Mamaw would make pretzel salad and pies. There would be too much food, an abundance of laughter, and when it came time to gather around the tree, each one of us would find ourselves in the same spot where we had sat last year and the year before that. Papaw would have chewy peppermint nougat candy and the music we would listen to would be on vinyl records, not CDs or cassette tapes. When we sat down to open presents, because I was the oldest grandchild, I would have the privilege of reading the Christmas story. This year my spot would be empty. We would spend our Christmas in the tiny seminary apartment in Kansas City without family near. I was brokenhearted. My Papaw got on the phone and told me that we would celebrate again when I arrived. My husband bought me peppermint nougat candy. My parents came to visit prior to Christmas. They brought with them my other grandparents with whom I had always spent Christmas eve, where we would stay until late at night opening gifts from handmade stockings from beneath a tree overladen with ornaments. On the way home, no matter how old I was, I kept my eyes trained on the night sky looking for signs of St Nick and eight tiny reindeer. Disappointment did not begin to describe the way I was feeling about Christmas that year. We decided to make a video to send back home so that we could be a part of the holidays with the family. Walking around the plaza we shot footage of the snow glistening against the thousands of tiny lights that outlined each building. Then we came home and I sat on the couch and though I was a little choked up, I read the Christmas story aloud. As I sat there and read about Mary I felt a certain kinship with her. Both of us were great with child, both of us were longing for home, and both of us were about to be blessed beyond measure. I think Mary was probably a little less whiney than me, although she did ride all that way on a donkey which I think entitles her to just a bit of whining without being judged. Reading that passage and ending with, “And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” brought me to a place of quiet within my own heart. Pondering is rarely a quick thing. It does not imply a fleeting thought. It says to me that she thought carefully about all the things that were happening to her and tucked them away in her heart to remember again and again. I think if Mary lived in our times she would have been scrapbooking a little hay…a scrap of swaddling clothes...perhaps some wool from some small lamb brought in the arms of a shepherd. Mary pondered…took time to remember and tuck those thoughts away in a place where she could remember again and again.
This year at Christmas, if you look carefully, you might find the opportunity to ponder some sacred moments that you have to look carefully to see… your child’s smile on Christmas morning…the family being together…remembering the day when the birth of a Child brought great hope into the world, and each of our lives.
This is a time of year that can often be remembered by the number and size of the gifts received and the culinary delights served. Why not spend this season watching to see how God will work in the life of your family? Rather than simply remembering things like it being the year you bought the wii, why not make it a Christmas in which you have gifts to remember like hospitality to others, sharing the love of Christ, and spending time together as a family. What will you ponder in your heart when the decorations are placed back into the attic?