Ponder and Treasure
I’m so excited about Christmas this year! Because of school and health reasons, my sweet husband handled all-things-Christmas the last few years. But this year, feeling again that stirring of anticipation, I have dived right in! I am decorating, planning, buying gifts, and looking forward to family gathering at my house on Christmas day. What a blessing!
That description makes me sound like I’m a whirlwind of activity; nothing could be further from the truth! I can’t do all the decorating in one day like I used to. I can’t spend hours wrapping presents or cooking in the kitchen. Instead, I must take everything at a new, slower pace. And surprise! I love that too!
Rather than feeling overwhelmed with busyness, I am able to savor the beauty and deepness of the real meaning of Christmas while I slowly do what I can, as I can. I don’t worry that today I only hung a few bulbs on the Christmas tree; tomorrow I can hang more! Or not! I don’t berate myself for taking three days – or a week! - to decorate the fireplace mantle! Somehow, I love the results even more because it took gradual and thoughtful steps to accomplish it. And since I take my time and set no expectations, I feel no pressure, no stress. This Christmas season has become packed with meaning because almost every day I spend a little time preparing for it, but a lot of time pondering God's greatest gift.
As I look back at the last two years - going through cancer, surgery, chemo, and radiation - I can see how God taught me a life lesson that perhaps I could have learned no other way. I went from an almost frantic pace of classes, training, work, home, and church to enforced quietness and rest. When that lesson first started, I remember feeling like a failure because I couldn’t do everything I used to do. But you know what? I can’t remember why I felt that way. What did I think would happen if I went at a slower pace? What terrible thing would befall me if I moved through life with deliberate resolve?
Because I can do fewer things, I choose to do only those things that lend deep meaning to this time of the year. I choose to follow the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Those words evoke a sense of calm and focused tranquility in me. When I give myself permission to treasure up the beauty of Christmas, to ponder the mystery and glory of the Good News, I am able to experience the peace and blessed quietness God so graciously imparts to me.
This year, I rejoice anew that God’s gift to me came in the silence of a still, holy night. And I am thankful that God continues to give unwarranted grace and astounding peace to hearts that treasure Him.