I love to come across a ‘but’ in my Bible reading – almost always begets an underline. This or that, failing, flailing, predictable, disappointing, painful, unbelievable, on and on and on – nothing better than the insertion of a ‘but God’ to dissuade it all. To give it check, put pause into, go beyond our understanding and capacity, be the creator of it all – ‘but God’.
A different ‘but’ is prevailing my thoughts today. I knew it was there before I was even pulled to Luke in my devotion this morning. ‘But Mary’ (heart sigh). After a journey of astronomical proportions – a virgin being told she was to bear the Christ child, journeying with Joseph to Bethlehem, having a baby in a stable and who can even imagine all the in between of that. I appreciate brevity but I know there’s so much more to that story – days, weeks, months, joys, disappointments, doubts, fears, disbelief…I can barely imagine.
The shepherds showing up to praise the newborn – who can imagine Mary’s state? Was she even up for visitors? How did it feel to have strangers in such an intimate and vulnerable moment? So much unknown and unsaid. But what is said in Luke 2:19 puts so much pause in me –
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
An oh so powerful, put pause in me ‘but’ – ‘but Mary’. Whatever was to be expected, whatever the world might have offered in opposition, whatever wanted to draw her from the divine glory of that moment – she chose more, she epitomized joy. ‘All these things’ – the good, the bad, the hard, the glory, the weariness – she took it all and she withdrew. Not that she left the stable saying, ‘here, you guys hold the baby.’ No, I imagine she breathed deeply and calmly. She looked upon the little life in her arms. She probably looked at Joseph the way new parents look at each other – if you’ve been there, you know that look. She likely cried and she probably smiled simultaneously, in spite of herself.
Whatever she did, the perception was peaceful and beautiful – something to aspire to.
She found peace in the moment, I believe that was her pondering. She owned every bit of what was happening and bound it deep in her heart. And by doing so, it was all treasured and kept. Joy epitomized.
Bubba gave me a porcelain, dollar-store Mary figurine several years ago. As he ‘presented’ her to me, he said his reason was ‘because Mary’s wise and you’re wise.’ There’s a video of this – I was overwhelmed at his sweet sentiment. Big heart sigh, still.
I am not like Mary, but oh how I long to be. I long to be wise, yet I fall short with great consistency. I forget to treasure that which should be treasured. In life’s flurry, my pauses to ponder, often left off my to-do list. Feels indulgent, not of this world, undeserved. Oh, how I’m pained at the un-wiseness in all of this.
‘But Mary’…besides the Saviour King baby, she’s it for me in the Christmas story. She was a child but so full of faith and perseverance. She was obedient. She was gracious. She did the hard thing – the needed thing. She did not put herself first. She was compelled by her faith. She treasured ‘all things’. She kept it close in heart – treasured. Oh, how I long for all of that.
The last one needs the grace, the faithfulness, the obedience, the trust, the acceptance, the less of me and more of Him, the wisdom to treasure and ponder. But because of Him, I make the list. He says so. He says I can’t earn it, I just have to believe and accept it. Too good to be true? Almost, but God….He wins, He answers, He’s the peace that passes, the freedom in the surrender – giving up what I can’t keep to take hold of Him.
Tomorrow’s my birthday. I always get anxious around my birthday. Childhood scars from a birthday too close to Christmas and a few years of low attendance to parties – I like to blame that for the anxiety. As I get older, I think it’s more about making the years count. Did I get it right, at least a little bit? Like fine wine or 3 day old milk? Am I at least a little wiser? My glory or His – what’s winning my days?
So year 38 – what’s my wish…more but. I’m smiling typing that – I have kids and can appreciate the humor in the word but and wanting more of it 🙂 I long for more ‘but God’ – more belief in that, more looking for the miracle of it, more treasuring and pondering when it happens, more looking up – heavenward, in hopeful expectation. Setting my heart’s sights so high – unbelievably so and waiting for the ‘but God’. I never liked milk anyways – cheers to 38 and more but, so much but…in spite of me, because of Him.
Treasuring and pondering – joy epitomized…
Merry Christmas ♥