Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
I think that pondering gets a bad press. It sounds indecisive. Like we should be getting on with something. Not just pondering it. But right from Advent Sunday we’ve been hearing about what’s going to happen: prophecies, angels, a long journey, a star and then, Christmas morning, the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, Emmanuel, God with us. Now it’s happened. And Mary’s response isn’t to say, right, what’s next? It’s to treasure up all of these things, and to ponder them in her heart. We can’t say she’s doing nothing, she’s pondering.
And although it sounds like a rather funny old-fashioned word, that is what she’s doing. It’s not decisive, and I believe that’s the point. It’s a moment between what has happened and what will happen, turning from the old to the new, much as we are all doing on this new years’ day. And that place we go where we ponder things – maybe a favourite quiet place, maybe just somewhere in our minds – is somewhere God can meet us all, where our hearts, our minds, our very souls are open to him. It is chance to listen to that still small voice of calm as we try and work out what’s just happened and now what’s going on. Maybe even a time to pray. Take time to ponder. Give others the time they need to ponder things too.
As we ponder things that are now past and the things that this new year holds for us, it gives us chance to offer all our plans and hopes and fears to God, knowing that like Mary, our true calling is to follow the calling, the plans, the resolutions that he has made for us, given life in his Son, revealed to us today through the presence of the Holy Spirit. And it is our chance to pray the prayer sometimes called the Prayer of Affirmation on this New Year’s Day: “For all that has been; thanks. To all that will be; yes.”
These are extracts from the sermon preached by Dave Lewis that your webmaster heard on New Year’s Day 2023. Do read the whole of it, downloadable at this link.