Nativity by Carol Aust

Light your candle every time you pray in Advent. You may need to get more candles. That would be great. This common practice will unite us in the darkening days. Shine your light on social media using  #HowWeHope as often as you need to feel the connection. You are not alone. The Lord is near. We are near.

Today’s Bible reading:

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”  

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:28-32,19

More thoughts for meditation:

Theoretically we have more space and time this season to ponder and reflect. Most of us are not preparing for big holiday parties or travelling out of town to see relatives this year. There are still many ways to keep busy and stressed, but perhaps there is an invitation for more reflection and pondering like Mary did. This is not an insignificant opportunity because it takes our brains longer to store positive experiences in long-term memory. Savoring and relishing what’s good in our minds and hearts is actually necessary to hanging on to them! Reflecting with curiosity and wonder with God helps us reverse some of the fearful effects of trauma as well. Trusted friends and / or professionals can help us reflect and ponder, too.

Mary didn’t know what to do with all the strange and unexpected things that were happening around this child from her first moment with the angel. So Luke records that she ponders and treasures them in her heart as he grows and interacts with the world. Pondering her questions and experiences was a tool for all that couldn’t be explained or understood in the moment. It was a way of holding them with God. What a great practice with all that we don’t understand yet either! 

One thing is clear about this child, though: He was extraordinary. He elicited big reactions, like Simeon’s above, and miracles surrounded him from conception to resurrection. Joseph stays with Mary, they escape Herod’s murderous clutches, many lives are changed and transformed through encounter with this One. Not even the Roman Empire could destroy him with their most shameful form of punishment. He continues to change lives and bring hope. His life with us is probably worth pondering and treasuring in our hearts, too.

Suggestions for action:

Take a moment for some treasuring right now. What do you want to hang on to this Advent? Can you identify some positive change or new revelation you want to explore or keep savoring? It’s probably related to something you don’t completely understand yet, and that makes room for wonder. Ask God to help you hang on to it, and to reveal more.