At this time of the year, bloggers often:
· Review accomplishments or missed marks during the past year.
· Set goals, accomplishments, and hopes for the coming year.
· Or, intermingle both approaches.
Here’s a quote I think does all three—leaving, as do all good stories, much to our imaginations.
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 KJV).
Ponder, for me, is the key—and is implicit in review, set goals, intermingle. Theology aside, this single, lyrical statement conveys, I think, one of the most poignant stories in the English language.
Pondered grabs my imagination while tugging at my own heart. I know the Sunday-School backstory. Yet even out of context, universal feelings of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety hover just below the surface. The vagueness of things—unspecified here, but known to Mary—imbues them with the potential to overwhelm this child-woman.
If we know the backstory’s bare bones—a young girl engaged to an older man, discovering she’s pregnant in a society hostile to such an embarrassment and even more hostile to the theological heresy—we can feel our whole being ache for the looming complications.
In the mid-twentieth century, one of my best friends revealed her unexpected pregnancy. Unexpected but admittedly because of her own actions. Her devout Lutheran parents banned her from their home. She was sixteen, living in Middle America, facing no good choices.
But if we’re not familiar with what “all these things” were that Mary kept, we can still empathize. We can admire that she doesn’t fall apart or rail against the incredible maturity she’s asked to demonstrate. We can grieve for the tumultuous events we know she will face in the days immediately ahead and the heartbreak that will come too soon.
Theology, culture, ethnicity, age, historical time frame—all fade as we read that Mary pondered … in her heart. In her heart—not in her head.
As the craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Last-Chance-Sale-Today escalates, I hope to find time to ponder. May you and those you love find joy and peace in a few quiet moments.
AB Plum lives and writes psychological thrillers in Silicon Valley. Her latest book, The Early Years is available https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01M8MGL2X. Look for Book 2, The Lost Years in mid- to late January, 2017!.