But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
It is a brief glimpse into the personality of Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, but it tells us much about who she was and who God uses. In her personality she appeared to be a private individual, treasuring memories in her heart, pondering – meaning thinking about them repeatedly – the meaning and significance. These words reveal an individual who reflected on her life events, whose sharp mind was drawn to consider significant moments and to bring them repeatedly into the presence of God to pray over and to seek to gain His understanding. God uses people on the basis of their availability to Him in humble commitment, who are willing to be obedient even though they live in a world hostile to God and His people. But these are not people who are defeated in their spirits, for they believe that no power on earth or under the earth is able to defeat the power of God.
Happy memories, especially those spent doing the will of God and receiving the spiritual blessings of God in Christ Jesus, have a way of building us up throughout our life. The shepherd’s visit and all that accorded that first nativity, was an announcement of the true identity of the child Jesus. They confirmed for Mary the angelic visit she had had earlier that announced her pregnancy. The day would come when she would need the encouragement of remembering who Christ truly was, His calling, His destiny, His work as Savior.
If messages and experiences are truly of God, they point us to the future, and do not drag us back down into a defeated past. It was just a few days later that old saintly Simeon said to Mary at the temple as they dedicated the infant Jesus, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34). These words were said with a blessing, and the scriptures strongly suggest that Mary embraced the blessing – that despite what would happen to and through Jesus, her son, the end result would be a blessing for her and for the world. The day would come when she would feel her soul pierced by a sword as she watched Christ be crucified, and the events of those early days surrounding His birth would be the tools in God’s hands to minister to her soul as to His purpose and power.
The heart of the encouraging message from God is to recall who we are in Christ and who Christ is in Himself. Jesus as Mary needed those memories of Jesus’ birth, so we need to be reminded often of who we are in Christ. The battle we fight is waged in our mind as Satan seeks to rob us of our identity – just as he sought to rob Christ of His identity through the criminal’s death on the cross. God will ultimately win over all who oppose Him, but in the heat of the battle we may feel defeated and forgotten. But God remembers who we are! As His followers we are the redeemed, the loved of God, the chosen, the cleansed, the equipped, the blessed, the sanctified, the church of the living God, the bride of Christ, those who will reign with Him, those who are called His friends and His brothers, those who are the overcomers by His grace, and those who belong to Him for all eternity. More than just our thoughts, we have the word of God to guide our understandings and interpretations of life.
Ponder this truth in your heart and let God build you up in your faith through His faithful love for you.
Lord, let us not lose sight of Your grace and our calling. Amen.