Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19. Of all the Christmas verses, this one always gives me pause. In my younger years, I honestly never thought a thing about it. No, it wasn’t until Christmas of 1990 that I first noticed it. That was the year I was “great with child” – with my only son Daniel. That Christmas the now classic song “Mary Did You Know” hit the airwaves and hit me in the gut. So my question or pondering is this, in the years to come, did Mary experience her own version of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas Future?
As a mom of three now, I have the weird vision condition of seeing all three situations simultaneously. You see, when I see my three children, I’ll imagine them as children in their Christmas attire, adults still in Christmas attire of some kind, however, the future vision is a little fuzzy at times. Those usually happen in dreams. Each Christmas, I try to make myself remember every detail of those moments – I ponder them in my heart. Thanks to Timehop and Facebook memories, they help me remember special Christmas too. For example, a Christmas or two back, my children surprised us with a monetary gift they’d been planning since March to send their Dad and I on a vacation to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I’m still in shock over that one.
Last Christmas I knew it would be the last one I’d have with my crew because 2016 brought us so many exciting changes -one being a new daughter! Anyway- as we spent time together playing games and eating, I sat back and took a mental photograph of the memories being made and thanked God for my blessings. You always hear about holiday gatherings being times of stress when family members are forced to be together and some crazy relative does something to ruin the moment. We’ve never had that. I am blessed that my children and new in-laws all get along and truly love each other. I knew last Christmas would be the beginning of changes of sharing my children with their spouse’s family. That was always part of my Christmas Future vision, that always turned out opaque because I never knew exactly how it would be. I just knew it would happen one day so it should not have been a surprise. However, we started a new tradition of ThanksMas and celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together by exchanging our gifts and making our predictions for the new year. That memory is permanently etched in my heart.
So I understand why Mary pondered things and moments in her heart. None of my children have had to flee for their lives, face angry crowds, experience torture and death. However, the point of that verse to me is a reminder that we have to store up the happy memories and wrap ourselves in the love those moments create because they will help when we experience bleak days and dark nights. Be thankful for the moments you have and treasure them in your heart. The rule of parenting is this – we are supposed to raise our wee babes to go into the world and lead full lives. Sometimes that means realizing and accepting they leave and begin their own traditions and experience new traditions as they become part of another family. So this year, while my married children are experiencing doing exactly that, I am thankful for my Iphone that buzzes with little notes or pictures of their moments. I am thankful they are part of new families that love them too. I take time in the silence to pray for all of us for the upcoming 2017 and the new adventures it might bring. I thank God for Christmas past and ponder them in my heart.