My bishop pulled me into his office and asked me to speak about Mary the Sunday before Christmas to our congregation. He quoted a scripture that I am going to mention in a moment and as he did he got emotional. That struck me. I immediately felt humbled that he felt prompted to have me speak. I worried that I may not pay this inspired topic the dues that it deserved. I felt that talking about Mary was a great privilege.
The scripture that he gave me was Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” What does ponder really mean? “To meditate and think deeply, often upon the scriptures or other things of God. When combined with prayer, pondering the things of God may bring revelation and understanding.”
So I began to ponder but nothing came! I became a little worried. I have been sleeping on average about 4-5 hours a night these last two months and lack of sleep has left me tired and emotional. I thought, “my brain isn’t up to speed”! But I prayed and kept thinking about that scripture –she pondered them in her heart.
It so happened that I had a 35 minute drive home from Costco this past week. Austin (my two year old) had fallen asleep and I found myself again thinking about this scripture. I asked myself what did she ponder? In response I thought about what events had transpired in her life up to that point. She had been given a message from a Heavenly Angel who proclaimed that she would bare a son and he would be the living Christ. She had witnessed a miracle as Joseph willingly joined her side to help raise our Savior. She saw heavens open, angels proclaim, and shepherds visit. She knew of the mission her son would have and that he would be the Savior for the whole world. I again asked what did she ponder and the answer came to me so clearly in that moment. It was exactly what the shepherds heard the angels proclaim.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:10-14)
She was pondering the mission of Jesus Christ. A Savior who would and could bring all people back to live with him again. He would redeem all the world including this humble mother: Mary. She must have felt the deep gratitude and humility that we all feel when we contemplate the personal mission of Jesus Christ for each of us. She probably pondered her own mission and plan on this earth. In fact we know that because her response to the angel was “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)
As I thought of these things I realized how alike I am to Mary, how we all are like her. Each of us comes to earth with a plan and a mission to accomplish. God guides and directs us individually and we in turn have a perfect example in Mary: To accept the will of the Lord and ponder the miracles in our own lives as we daily contemplate the great birth, atonement, and death of the one who can save us all. What a most powerful example and enduring lesson I had just gained from a humble virgin.
These thoughts had flooded over me as I was driving home on the 485. I felt gratitude for a Savior who once again had answered my simple prayer as I stressed about a topic to speak on. As I uttered these thanks, literally seconds later, I took the exit for the 16. I noticed as I came closer to the stop sign that there was a homeless man ahead of me. He was shaking dirt off his hat facing away from me as I pulled up next to him with my window facing him. I admit that I sometimes am a little leery of those who are homeless but today I saw a man who was in a horrible situation, homeless and hungry. A child of God no different from myself. I had just been touched deeply by the spirit with renewed faith in my Savior. How could I then turn my back to this man who had found himself in a horrible set of circumstances? The scripture I had just pondered in my heart came to me “And peace on earth goodwill to men.” I rolled down my window and said “here you go sir” as I handed him what little cash I had in my wallet. He smiled deeply and said “thank you ma’am.” “Merry Christmas” I said. Never have I said those two words with so much emotion. I meant them. I truly wanted to pass a love, peace, and hope of Christ through them. My light turned green and I had to immediately drive away but as I did so I noticed the car behind me too had stopped to give him money. Not one but two people had now just offered kindness.
I immediately wept. Pondering in my heart as Mary did had changed me. I felt the love of my Savior, new understanding of his plan for me and for all God’s children and wanted to share that peace with someone who needed it most. May we each follow the beautiful example of Mary this Christmas and all year long as we ponder the beautiful message of Jesus Christ!
This article appeared first on Real Imprints.