Treasuring..and Pondering...

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
In this season of Advent....waiting and preparing for the birth of Christ....let us ponder upon all we know about Jesus. Let us treasure up all of the details of the magnificent story of His life.
Advent is "the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity (or birth) of Jesus."
Expectant waiting.....
As I bring out all of our Advent activities- the wreath and calendar and tree and playset- I think about Mary's expectant waiting....Creation's expectant waiting...the angels' expectant waiting....
We may take the month of December or the four weeks before Christmas to plan and prepare. But, I thought about how Mary had been planning for this time for MONTHS before....
The angel had visited her several months ago. By this time, she had already visited Elizabeth and helped her with the delivery of John. By now she may have already been on the road to Bethlehem.
Isn't it funny how we can focus on all of this right before Christmas......
But, I should be "pondering and treasuring and storing up"all year long the miracle of Jesus.
"Advent" isn't just a once a year attitude. This joy of Christmas should be practiced all year long. And, I will continue wait expectantly until Christ returns!
As I prepare during this Advent season, I have been trying to focus on Jesus and reread the Gospels.

O, Christmas Tree!!!!

You may have noticed that I posted on Facebook that our tree FELL OVER ON US this year!  When we finish decorating the tree, we gather pillows, blankets and hot chocolate and sit under the glow of twinkling lights, swapping favorite Christmas memories and wishes while we admire the beautiful lights.  Well, no sooner had we begun sipping and swapping when the tree SLOWLY fell over right on us!  It reminded me of this devotion I wrote several years ago....I love that God whispers to us through the hubbub of this busy season, teaching us lessons, if we are listening. O, Lord, may I always be listening to your sweet voice, teaching me, encouraging me, warning me…….. Give me ears to hear!
Well, we have had some problems with our Christmas tree this year.
We like to buy a live tree through the “Optimist Club” that helps the Boys and Girls Club in our city. We found the “perfect” one this year, and it is HUGE! Because we have a two-story entrance, we are able to have a tree that is very tall, and I would guess this year’s to be about 12 feet high. It took a looooooong time to decorate, about 4 hours- the lights, the garland, the decorations……… And, when we finished, Brian, the kids, and I gathered our pillows, blankets, and hot chocolate to snuggle under it, talking about favorite Christmas memories. The tree was perfect. We had taken our time and placed the decorations in the best locations. The lights looked great- Brian hit every branch! We had to go upstairs and hang over the banister to place the star on top. This year’s tree definitely was Christmas card material! We went to bed that night pretty pleased with our handiwork.

About 2 AM Brian and I were startled awake to a loud “CRASH!” As our fuzzy brains were trying to comprehend what the noise was (could it be burglars????), we both yelled, “the tree!” as we raced downstairs. There was our beautiful (huge) tree lying on its side. We wanted to cry! All the hard work down the drain! We had simply not taken the time to double check the base to make sure all of the posts were completely fastened tightly, and the weight of the tree had caused it to slide across the tile floor until it fell over. Somehow the two of us managed to right the tree back up. Brian tied it to the banister with a large rope and put weights all around the base to keep it from going anywhere. It was safely secured, but it was a mess! Thankfully, only two out of at least 50 glass or ceramic ornaments had broken. None of the lights had broken! But, the strands had fallen all over the tree, the wire garland was all at the top of the tree, and the ornaments were turned topsy turvey. The tree branches were smooshed down where it had fallen. The next day it took me about 2 hours to put it all back together again.

As I pondered all this, I began to see some pretty important life lessons. (Pride comes before a fall?) Actually, I thought about how I can look perfect on the outside, all my “ornaments” in the right place, lights and garland looking perfect, but if my relationship with the Lord is not secure, everything can come crashing down! More important than how the outside looks, is the base secure??????? It reminded me of when Jesus taught about the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27). If I build my life on the foundation of Jesus Christ, I will be secure. If not, the “tree” comes crashing down. Jesus said, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a crash.”

Father God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for teaching me these lessons. May I always hear your Word and put it into practice. May I lean on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ as my base. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how beautiful the decorations are- how much my life looks good from the outside, without my base firmly anchored in Jesus and your Word daily, my life can come crashing down! I love you, Lord! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen and amen and amen!
First printed December 2007