Please welcome guest blogger Leigh DeLozier this week. Leigh and I met as members of East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers and we are now connected through Word Weavers. She is a talented writer and lives a life that shines as a Titus 2 woman. Leigh shares with us through her experience as an author and writer and her knowledge of Bible study. Please connect with Leigh through her website and the social media links in her bio below.
by Leigh DeLozier @lbdelozier
The older I get, the more I’m learning to appreciate living in the moment and soaking things in instead of always having my phone or camera at the ready to snap pictures or record what’s happening. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I think it’s often a good place to be.
Maybe that’s why one verse tucked into Luke’s version of what we know as the Christmas story is especially resonating with me this year:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 NIV)
Even though Mary had months to prepare for Jesus’ birth, everything about the experience was sure to be overwhelming.
Engagement and wedding plans turned upside down. Being an obviously pregnant young woman who was betrothed but not yet officially married.
Traveling for days to reach Bethlehem because of the census. Being turned away again and again as she and Joseph sought a place to stay in a town filled far beyond its capacity.
Not having her mother or other women by her side as support while she went through labor. Delivering her first child in a cramped, smelly stable.
All of that would have been more than enough for any young mom to absorb. But Mary had the additional layers of knowing she hadn’t simply become pregnant out of wedlock and delivered a child like any other mother.
Her pregnancy was a miracle and the tiny baby she held — the one she’d felt moving inside her womb, whose feet or elbows had poked under her ribs as He grew — was the Son of God.
There was so much to ponder, so much to try and wrap her head around now that Jesus was born. There was so much to treasure as precious and unique.
What can we learn from Mary’s pondering?
When a Bible verse snags my attention and calls me to dig in a bit more, one of the first things I like to do is look up the original Hebrew or Greek translation for key words and see what they mean.
Then I like to look at the verse in several Bible translations to see if any of them help give me a fresh understanding.
When we do this for Luke 2:19, we learn that the word translated to English as “pondered” was originally the Greek word sumballo.
In the context of Luke 2:19, sumballo means “to put one thing with another in considering circumstances” — which aligns perfectly with what we think of as “ponder” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W.E. Vine, page 476).
Then comes the fun of getting more perspective by comparing different English translations of the verse (which is easy with a search and couple of extra clicks at BibleGateway.com).
Many translations, such as the KJV and ESV, are similar to the NIV translation, saying that Mary “treasured” or “kept” these things and pondered them in her heart.
But translations that include explanatory words or are written in more contemporary language can help us relate to verses in a new way. Here are a few examples for Luke 2:19:
- But Mary treasured all these things, giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart. (Amplified)
- Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. (Common English Bible)
- But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
- Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. (The Message)
- But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over. (New International Reader’s Version)
Concepts such as “committed these things to memory,” “meditating on them,” and holding things “dear, deep within herself” and as a “secret treasure in her heart” give us a better understanding of Mary’s heart and mind as a new mother.
She didn’t simply listen to the shepherds tell of their own angel encounter (which is what happens in Luke 2:8-18). Mary — perhaps more than anyone — knew what a special time this was, with the miraculous reality of living with God on earth just beginning.
She returned to these moments in her mind again and again. Maybe some of her reminiscences were like those of any new parent who wants to always remember those first days with their baby.
Maybe some were because she wanted to cling to anything that seemed normal in an utterly out-of-the-ordinary family story.
Maybe she treasured them because she instinctively knew that remembering the hope and promise of these moments would help her get through the years ahead.
Whatever the reason, Mary treasured the memories of Jesus’ birth and kept them tucked in her heart, ready to pull out at any time.
She savored the specialness.
She marveled at the miracle.
She pondered the possibilities of what it all meant.
As we move into the last two weeks of Advent, will you be pondering some things of your own? Maybe it’s a fresh realization of what Christmas means to you.
Maybe it’s how you can hold onto a few special moments of the season like Mary did or how you can share the story of Jesus’ birth with someone who might not know it.
Whatever it might be, ask that God will use it to show Himself to you in a new way. Then savor … and marvel … and ponder the beauty of it just as Mary did. Merry Christmas!
Join the conversation and feel free to share your Advent ponderings.
www.AuthorLeighDeLozier.com or on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) where she encourages others — and reminds herself — to slow down and see God every day.