Ponder the Treasure
Anyone else feel like they’ve been through a whirlwind?
As much as I adore the Christmas season, it can be a demanding time of year.
Thanksgiving seems to kick off a time warp that speeds us through December faster than any other month. Every hour of every day is taxed with activities and even time off from work doesn’t feel like much of a break. We crash-land on the 25th and realize there’s not much time for lounging around if we’re going to accomplish all our plans. Christmas Day itself is often stretched thinner than pie dough in order to fit in all of our traditions and events. Even those of us who greet the holidays with joy can feel weighted down by all the expectations, disappointments, and demands that seem magnified during this season.
Not all of this is negative. Most of it is the opposite. Those of us who have family to visit and parties to attend should rejoice in the blessing of companionship, and a messy living room littered with torn wrapping paper and filled with squealing children is definitely a cause for thanksgiving. However, even our merrymaking can leave us run down if we don’t remember to prioritize one of the most important elements of Christmas and life.
Ironically, what do our Christmas carols emphasize the most, besides joy?
Peace. Stillness. Rest from trouble and striving. Quiet awe and amazement.
There are countless voices out there today encouraging us to kick back and relax. But the rest and peace we find in God is so much more than that. It’s about emphasizing trust, gaining wisdom, following God’s direction. The story of Jesus’ Birth is filled with Selah moments where hope was kindled in the human heart by the breath of God. Many crucial points of the story rely on people hearing God’s voice and responding in obedience. God entrusted a massive mission to Mary and Joseph and they simply followed His Lead through completely uncharted waters. It is so tempting to talk and worry our way off the path. In today’s world of instant gratification and media sharing, it is hard to truly experience a moment and hear God’s voice in it because we’re often trying to document and filter it simultaneously, pressured to get some kind of image out into the world.
But when was the last time you stopped and just breathed in the Lord's Presence, asking His Spirit what He wants to reveal to your heart? Sometimes I wonder how many of the miracles and moves of God in the Bible would have been missed if the people had had cell phones and internet. So often, all our activity drowns out the still small voice. It was in the quiet that He appeared and spoke to the prophet Elijah and not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. And Mary…front-row seat to the greatest moment history had ever seen…didn’t rush through, didn’t try to seize control, didn’t draw attention to herself. She treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart, drinking in what God had done for her. For everyone (Luke 2:19). How much do we miss when we spend so much time talking over God?
I’m not talking about giving God lip-service or simply acknowledging that Jesus is “the reason for the season.” I’m talking about truly living before Him, daily.
It’s so easy to mistakenly think that just because we are Christians, we will naturally exude Christ and His Nature. But we usually emulate what we’re spending the most time with. In this chaotic world, we won’t magically manifest strength to battle temptation, withstand stress, and hear God’s voice if we don’t daily prioritize our most important Relationship. Christ must be preeminent in reality, not just in theory.
It’s true, we don’t have endless hours to sit and ponder. But we all have time. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed. Don’t allow yourself to be worn thin by uncertainties when you have full access to the Answer Himself! Jesus revealed Himself as the Bread of Life and promised that whoever comes to Him will never hunger or thirst (John 6:35). He said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63). All that we need is found in Him and our faith will grow stronger only as we lean into the Source of all life. Come and sit with Him now. Ask the Holy Spirit what He is saying. Soak up the Presence of the One who loves you, with no agenda, no pressure, no expectation except the blessed understanding that He is with you and delights to impart Himself to you.
"And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them" (Luke 2:20). What has God told you/shown you that you can rejoice in?
"Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). What treasures has God revealed that you can hold close to your heart?
Where has the tender mercy of God visited you in your process, today? Where is the gentle, mighty Hand of God guiding your feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79)?
Pause and ponder what He has done and what He is doing…every day. Even if it’s just one thing every day. If you make this a daily practice, you will start to see evidence of His Hand in your life, even in places you thought were beneath His notice. Hide His Words in your heart and you will be equipped for your daily struggles. You will be encouraged by His Presence with you, His greater plan unfolding around you.
The gift He wants to give you this year is new eyes. Real hope. Renewed delight in all the Treasure He has hidden for you!