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Learning to Ponder

Last weekend, I packed away the Christmas decor. All I could this was:

I mean really. We got home from a vacation on Dec. 2. We spent the next 19 days working, participating in all the extra curriculars, plus the band concert and school Christmas program and unearthing our Christmas decorations from the boxes we hadn’t yet unpack (because, oh right, we also moved the month before). Then we hosted three holiday parties in our home all while shopping, wrapping, and trying to enjoy the other traditions of the season.

It went way too fast.

I out the tree away thinking that things change so quickly. It feels like just a few weeks ago that I had given birth to my first-born and was in tears as a new mom, not having ANY clue what to do. Now my daughter is 12.

It got me thinking about Mary. You know, Jesus’ mother. Imagine what it was like for her that day in the stable. She’s giving birth among livestock. It’s her first child and there is this huge job before Him. He’s going to save the world from their sins.

So, she has this baby, and probably lays him on her chest like mamas do. And she’s got to be thinking, “It’s cool, it’s cool. I just had a baby in a barn and he’s going to save the world.” Or was she thinking, “Holy moly, I just had a baby! Now I have to be his mom! Oh gosh! What do I do now?”

But then, the barn door opens and these shepherds come running in! They are all “Ooooh! Let me see the baby! Are you feeling good Mary? This is a weird place to have a baby. And OH MY GOSH! He’s going to save the sinners.”

And then they went out and told more people. If it were me, I’d probably be thinking, “Um, I’m gonna need a minute here.” But not Mary. Not the woman who heroically had a baby in a barn. No. You know what she did?

Luke 2:19

” But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

She treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Pondered them. So, she like scrapbooked them in her heart. She meditated on them. She carefully considered them. These memories of what just happened in that stable.

It reminds me of the wedding of Jim and Pam on “The Office.” They took “mental pictures” throughout their wedding to remember the special times that couldn’t be captured any other way.

Then I thought back to our Christmas. I took pictures to remember what happened, sure, but I was so busy worried about food and illness and all these other stupid things. While I physically present, I was worried about moving things along so people weren’t bored and making sure the food was good. Did I ponder those moments of Christmas in my heart? Am I pondering moments as often as I should? Or are they just fleeting times? I mentioned that my daughter is 12. How long will the magic of Christmas wash over our house the way it does right now?

And when else should I be pondering moments?

When I had my third daughter, I knew she was last. I planned out everything so that I wouldn’t miss anything about the experience. I wouldn’t regret doing or not doing something. I had it all written out, created a Pinterest board and everything. Signed, sealed, delivered, this was the P-L-A-N.

But then the baby came early. We were at the hospital and nothing was going according to “plan.” Labor was intense with no relief. My husband was desperately trying to remind me of all the things I “wanted.” There was certain music, certain breathing techniques, certain things I wanted to make sure of as she entered the world. None of it mattered anymore. The pain was too intense. The baby was coming quickly. That’s all I was focused on. Then, she came out and my husband couldn’t find the camera battery, but he didn’t want to tell me. So he used his iPhone to take all of the pictures. This was definitely not part of my plan.

Those iPhone pictures are perfect.
I couldn’t care less that our good camera was tucked away in our bag.
This is when they said I had 30 second to hold her. My husband captured her looking like, “what the heck just happened” and be responding with, “yeah, it was pretty crazy wasn’t it! Just wait until you meet your sisters!”

But in those very hurried few minutes after she arrived and before she went to the NICU, I stopped. I looked over at my husband who was standing next to the frenzy of doctors and it was as if the world was moving, but we weren’t. We locked eyes. He made a frown-y face, but I smiled back. He then smiled at me in return. That moment, I pondered. That moment is etched in my heart in a way that I can’t describe.

Pondered.

At our wedding, we had a goal. We wanted to dance with each other as much as possible. Others had told us the day gets away from you and by the end of the night, you’ve barely enjoyed the wedding together. There was a moment when I was getting a drink of water by myself at the head table while everyone was dancing. I had to pinch myself as I loved around at the people who had come to celebrate with us. They were having fun. I was having fun. This was it. This was our wedding. Planned out for months and finally here. I looked around took it all in and said to myself, “breathe it all in.”

Another moment. Pondered.

Real life.

I have few moments like that in my life. I try to make a point of the ones I really want etched in my brain and on my heart. They aren’t always moments that can’t be captured with a camera. Sounds, smells, sensations and sights can quickly recall those moments from my heart and bring them back to my mind. Almost as if they were happening again.

So, as I close out our Christmas celebrations and feel back in reality, I want to find more moments to ponder.

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