"And Mary was keeping within herself all these things
and pondering them in her heart."
Miracles, mysteries and faith: the fabric with which the gospel account is woven.
Re-reading the familiar this year, I have been struck by an illuminated fact. All who were called to participate in the glorious event, the incarnation and birth of our Lord, had a remarkable, unwavering, cast iron faith.
This faith resulted in an absolute obedience, a Now sort of obedience, a complete abandonment to the messages given to them. This, in light of the fact that all that was spoken to each was nothing but the Unbelievable, the Miraculous, carefully wrapped up in Mystery. (Other than Zachariah, of course,who paused and questioned. He was dealt with. He of all people - a priest - should have known better.)
For Elizabeth and Mary, they received not only words to act upon, these marvels, these mysteries took place in their bodies. With the motion of the Spirit of God within their hearts came a clarity, a knowing that seemed to escape the men. The evidence, of course, is in their 'songs' as Luke records. They understood and where they didn't understand, they trusted. Courageously. Completely.
For all, two couples, the shepherds and the Magi,
they heard the Word of the Lord because of their faith.
Because that faith was securely founded on the God of that Word,
After the events came Mary's ponderings. Pondering (and this is the only place in the King James text it occurs,) means to "converse with oneself, to consult, dispute and consider to aid personally". This implies it is for the purpose of gaining a mental balance. She had to sort through all these wondrous happenings which surrounded her!
In the Hebrew scriptures, Proverbs 5.21, declares that the Lord 'ponders' and weighs the hearts of man in order to 'make them straight, smooth and even. Its for evaluation and correction.
In addition to being of God, this is a mom thing, this pondering. So many are the times when words, actions, events are so filled with meaning that they must be tucked securely and deeply in the heart. They are sorted and sifted through, rehearsed and edited until all can safely be stored.
Must not then a mother's ponderings be a form of prayer? If these treasured thoughts are sorted before the eyes of our God who makes all straight and orderly, it must be.
Faith and obedience, pondering the unspeakable before the Lord, these are just some of the riches gleaned from The Story we are celebrating this season.