Taking the Treasures

We’re nearing the end of the year, and talk about introspection abounds…with good reason. What will you take with you from the last twelve months?


photo by Tom Praison

photo by Tom Praison

A familiar part of the Christmas story caught my attention recently. After the shepherds’ unexpected, worshipful visit to her newborn son, Jesus, Luke 2:19 (NIV) says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Can you imagine the range of emotions and thoughts Mary experienced that night? And not just that night, but the last nine-plus months? She began that time as a young teenager betrothed to a good man, a bright future ahead. She then sparked scandal among family and friends by becoming pregnant before marriage. Who would believe she’d remained innocent? Only divine intervention talked Joseph down from ledge of divorce. No doubt her days after returning from cousin Elizabeth’s home were filled with whispers behind her back and disapproving stares. And no doubt those harrowing months shaped her into an even more compassionate person.

But then He came. Her baby, Jesus, the son of God. There was so much to take in, so much to process. Surely it required the decades ahead for her to come close to realizing the significance.

So for the time being, that first night, she she simply gathered all of the sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings she grasped and tucked them away in her heart for safekeeping.  And her memory wasn’t just a storage space. It offered her a place to to think about and mull what all of it meant.

She recognized the significance and meaning just enough to hang onto it. The good, the bad of those months would not be wasted.

But what about us? What about you?  Think about this last year, the good and the bad. Which things do your heart beckon you to gather into its treasure chest?

No one wants to hang on to the bad things. At least not on purpose. But which of those taught priceless lessons that demand to be treasured, pondered? If God used it for our good, it will not be wasted. Bank on that.

But what about the negative experiences that earn no place in your treasure chest? If we’re anything like each other, sometimes the bad things of life masquerade as legitimate stowaways in our heart. It could be major events or even the smaller, pesky annoyances that abound in our everyday fallen world. Do they really deserve to be carried into the next year (or even the next day), or can we jettison them into the sea of forgetfulness? Let’s do ourselves a favor and ponder that.

Ah, but the good things… Let’s not neglect to seize them and, with a loving touch, place them in our hearts for safekeeping. God astounds me with His blessings, but do I take time to recognize and think about them? If we take anything from the life of Mary, her example is timeless and precious.  Surely she held tightly to these memories during the tumultuous years that unfolded.

Treasure and ponder. It just may help get us through the unknowns of our future.