Two verses tucked away at the end of the Christmas story are so often passed over – Luke 2:19 and 2:51. They portray Mary’s contemplative nature, which seems extraordinarily mature for a teenage girl, even in her time. Yet, from the scriptural account, Mary apparently had a firm grasp on gratitude and trust. Two things I seem to struggle to master. After a whirlwind of events, she took time to reflect on all that had happened.

Now that our Christmas is over and we’re back to business as usual – I’d like to pause, like Mary did, and examine the treasures God has given us in recent days.
Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” That’s how I’d like to enter the New Year. There is a wealth of insight in that phrase. After the hurried trek to Bethlehem for the census, the makeshift birthplace, and the surprise visit from the shepherds, Mary took time to consider what God had done. 

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:17-19, emphasis mine).

What treasures did Mary hold close to her heart? Here’s what I see:
First of all, she was chosen. Mary didn’t seek this out; God handpicked her for this role. She was created to bear the Messiah and she accepted her assignment willingly and humbly. She saw it as a blessing.
God chooses each of us for very specific roles as well (1 Pet. 2:9). Perhaps not as grand as Mary’s, but still, important to the people whose lives we touch. No one else can be who we were created to be. You and I are unique in all of creation. Do you treasure who He has chosen you to be?
Mary’s identity was validated – first by the angel, then Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna at the temple, and later, by the wise men. Her life fulfilled specific prophecies foretold centuries earlier, but being human, I’m sure she still had moments of fear and doubt. How welcome these words and gestures must have been!
Many precious verses in the Bible validate my identity in Christ and as a Christian, woman, wife, mother, friend, and writer. God also uses people to confirm the value of who I am and what I do. Blog comments, emails, texts, and handwritten letters encourage me to keep on writing, to keep on loving and serving.
Who has supported you in your God-given dreams? Confirming what God’s Spirit has spoken to your heart? All of us need that boost, to know we have a purpose in life (Heb. 2:3-4). Take a moment to treasure those people who have urged you to step out in faith, persevere, even  against great obstacles. Maybe they need to hear how much they mean to you, and be encouraged in their walk as well.

I hope you’ll check back over the next couple of days to see what else Mary found to delight in, both right after that first Christmas, and twelve years later.