When my family starts to decorate the Christmas tree and take ornaments out of the box, stories begin to naturally flow. We talk about the vacation we were on when we got this ornament or ask questions to help us remember who got us this ornament and when. The hand-made ornaments from my kids when they were smaller always brings a smile to our faces.
It’s amazing to think how these small objects can bring pictures of special places, events, people, and moments from our past to our minds. These traditions and moments we share each year are something that find a special way into our hearts and minds. We can experience growth, joy, strength, and healing as we connect with these meaningful moments.
At the very first Christmas, this story also found a special way into the hearts and minds of those present. Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I love that the gospel of Luke records this sentence. The experiences leading up to this very moment were something that Mary knew were special. She was thoughtful to consider deeply and appreciate all that God was doing. We follow the story of Mary in the book of Luke, the angel sharing messages about the coming of John the Baptist to Zechariah and Elizabeth and about Jesus being born to the virgin Mary. After this encounter with the angel, Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. She found assurance and comfort and was able to praise God for what he was doing in her life and for the world through this child. After she returned home, Mary and her husband, Joseph, traveled to Bethlehem. The town was crowded and there was no place for them, except for a stable with animals. It was just in time because while they were there, Jesus was born! That night, shepherds came to see Jesus because they had been visited by angels proclaiming the birth of this Christ Child. As Mary considered all that had happened to bring them to this moment, she treasured these things in her heart.
This story is something we can treasure in our hearts as well. These people, places, and events we recall from the very first story is a part of our story as well. Jesus came to all the world as a tiny child, lived as a humble servant, died and rose again as a wonderful Savior. This good news was proclaimed from the very beginning and continues today. It is the greatest story ever told!
As you create special moments, take time for traditions, and share stories with your family and friends. Make sharing the good news of this story of Jesus an important part of these experiences. These moments will find their way into our hearts as new treasures to remember and share, year after year.
Amy Givens, Director of Youth Ministry