Over the past Christmas season, I, like many of you, reread the Christmas Story. When I got to where Luke writes about the shepherds I stopped and noticed something. Luke writes in chapter two, “That 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 2:18-19) Mary’s reaction was different than the shepherds and those who heard the shepherds. They were all amazed, but she calmly took it all in and pondered them in her heart. She meditated on them, seeking to understand the deep meaning of all she was experiencing. Pondering seemed to be a habit of Mary.

We are told again in Luke 2:51, after her scary Oh, no! I lost my 12-year-old son in Jerusalem experience; that once she found him, and things calmed down, and the family was back on the road home to Nazareth, that she “treasured all these things in her heart.”

The word ponder is a verb, an action word, meaning to weigh in the mind, to think about, to reflect quietly, to meditate deeply. Whereas the word amazed is an adjective, a describing word.

The definition of amazed is a feeling; to show great surprise or wonder. Amazed is a temporary feeling or emotion. To ponder something is very different than to be amazed by something.

We should all be amazed at the greatness and goodness of God! We should stand amazed by His creation when we look up at the stars in the sky or witness the birth of a child. We should be amazed by his love displayed on the cross. But we should be more than amazed! We need to follow Mary’s example and develop the habit of pondering God’s greatness and goodness, treasuring up all these things and pondering them in our hearts.

I encourage you to be more than amazed this year and began to ponder more. Ponder… His Greatness, His Goodness, His Words, and His Ways. This year let’s go beyond just emotions, to deeper spiritual reflection.