December 21, 2010
Pondering and Peaceful
Marybeth Whalen

 "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart." Luke 2:51 (NIV)         

Devotion:
Not much is known about Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is obvious from the Scriptures that she was a young girl who loved God and was willing to obey Him at all costs. We don't know how God chose her to be the mother of His Son — we just know He did. Her response to the angel when she finds out about God's plan for her is our first clue as to why God knew she would be a great mother for Jesus: "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38, NIV).

Recently, my children and I were reading in Luke where Jesus goes missing as a young teen, and His parents find Him in the temple. After searching for three days! As parents, we panic if we lose track of our child for a few minutes in a store. Can you imagine searching a city for three days for your 13 year-old son?

When they finally found Jesus, He was in the temple and wondered what all the fuss was about. The Scripture says that He told them He was where He should be, in His Father's house. "But they did not understand what He was saying to them" (Luke 2:50, NIV).

As my children and I read this passage, I tried to put myself in Mary's shoes. Her son had been missing. I am sure she vacillated between trusting God and panicking. And this was how I know that I would not have been a candidate for the Mother of Jesus award: as I tried to picture my reaction to finding Jesus in the temple after searching for three days, I pictured myself joyous and relieved. Then I pictured those feelings giving way to anger and questions.

Okay, so that was before the days of cell phones. He truly had no way to let His parents know where He was. But why didn't He stay with them in the first place? I got angry for Mary! And then I read the next verse: "But His mother treasured all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:51b, NIV).

The last time we saw Mary treasuring an event in her heart was right after her son was born. Once again, things were not going the way I would have wanted. She had given birth in a cold stable in dingy surroundings. Again, I was reminded of how accepting of her circumstances she was, and how her attitude reflected that.

Our verse for today reminds us of a young woman at peace with her circumstances, trusting God no matter how things would work out. Fast forward 13 years later and she is still that kind, gentle woman — no yelling at Jesus, no threats, no yanking Him by the ear when they finally find Him. Instead, the Scriptures tell us that she treasured "all these things." Would I have been able to treasure that dirty stable? Would I have been able to treasure that seemingly errant teen?

As I pondered these two times where Mary is seen treasuring her circumstances, I began to wonder how often things go wrong in my life and I react instead of reflect. So I'm allowing these two Scriptures to seep into my heart. Is my attitude, "May it be to me as You have said," or is it, "Okay, God, this is not the way it's supposed to be and I want You to fix it right away."

As we go through this season of celebrating Jesus' coming, I plan to work on my attitude when things don't go right. I plan to practice accepting God's plan when it doesn't match mine. I plan to learn to treasure and ponder instead of whine and complain. I plan to grow in my love and appreciation of Jesus, just as Mary did. I plan to marvel at His coming and revel in His glory. And most of all, this Christmas, I plan to search for Him everywhere, just as she did — and never lose sight of Him again.

Dear Lord, thank You for sending Your Son into this world. As we celebrate His birth, help me to focus on who He is and why He came here. Help me to be the kind of servant to You that Mary was and for my attitude to reflect that each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Find more from Marybeth on her blog and on her resource page.

A Recipe for Christmas Joy (E-Book) by Marybeth Whalen

When a Woman Meets Jesus: Finding the Love Every Woman Longs For by Dorothy Valcarcel

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Application Steps: 
If you have children in your life, read Luke 2 with them and talk about Jesus growing up. This is one of the few passages where we see Jesus as a child. This is also a good time to talk about staying with your parents and what to do if separated!

Adjust your attitude today to be more accepting of your circumstances.

Reflections: 
Am I allowing God to shape me through my circumstances—the good and the not-so-good? Am I trusting Him when things don't go right?

Power Verses:
Job 23:12, "I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread." (NIV)

Colossians 2:2, "I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery." (MSG)  

© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
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