Gilland: A Christmas story worth pondering

Girls opening Christmas presents
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It was my great delight each and every Christmas morning to read to our children from Luke 2, the well-quoted text of the Christmas story. Year after year, and right before opening all the presents, I would emphasize the true reason for the season—the birth of Jesus who was the greatest gift of all.

But one year in the late 90s, the cutest thing happened during my reading. I had just read through verse 19, where Mary was responding to the report of the shepherds’ experience of having the angels proclaim the news of Jesus’ birth to them. Mary treasured those reports, “pondering them in her heart.” 

Upon hearing that line, one of my young daughters immediately spoke up, saying, “Daddy?” I acknowledged her, and she went on… “Is that the same pondering as Pinky and the Brain, when they ask, ‘Are you pondering what I’m pondering?’” 

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My other family members told me that I buried my face in the chair as I was trying to conceal my laughter. Cindy’s parents were visiting us, and they didn’t have a clue as to who Pinky and the Brain were, so I explained: “They are two lab rats trying to take over the world.”

I don’t think there has a been a year since that I don’t think of that sweet memory, full of wonder, innocence and curiosity. My daughter was really listening, and she was responding in a way that made perfect sense to her young mind. She too was pondering in her heart.

My takeaway from this story is that we need to be engaged in this, the most amazing story in all of history, when the supernatural power of God mingled in a unique way with His creation. Mary had already encountered the angel who brought the news of the miracle that was to come, and she endured both the physical discomfort and the emotional stress that came from an unplanned pregnancy – one that came about in spite of the fact that she was a virgin. 

Now, news that angels had proclaimed the birth to shepherds who had been minding their own business, watching over their flocks. Luke 2:11-12 records what happened next: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Mary’s miracle story just simply continued to unfold in real time, and all she could do was to treasure these things and think upon them. 

I feel quite sure that these events were only the beginning of her ponderings, as this baby would grow to become the Savior of the world.

That, my friends, is definitely something worth pondering. Have a Merry Christmas.

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