It’s Christmas Eve and I have so many things to ponder this year.  One of my favorite verses from the Christmas story is Luke 2:19.  The shepherds had just crowded into the cave in order to see the baby the angels had proclaimed.  They saw Jesus, just as they had been told and then they left the stable to tell others what had happened.  Luke 2:19 says, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  Mary was so young, yet the baby she held in her arms was the God of the universe.  She stored her memories in her heart and pondered the unknowable future of her newborn son.

My mom was born on Christmas Eve.  I wonder if my grandma thought about Mary as she held her 14th and final child, in her arms.  I’m sure Grandma had a lot to think about in those days too.  Ten sons, and four daughters; each was born healthy and was born at home.  My mom didn’t grow up with a lot of possessions, but she grew up surrounded by a family who loved her.  Mom’s first Christmases were simple and not everyone received a big gift each year.  I’m sure my grandma pondered the life that she held in her arms that day and wondered what the future would hold for my mom.

There is another baby waiting to be born.  My grandchild is due very soon.  I think about that little baby every time I see a picture of the baby in the manger.  How different things are today!  But I’m sure my son and daughter-in-law have a lot to ponder this Christmas as well.  There is a lot to look forward to in the Denison family this coming new year!

Sun setting, touching the horizon on a beach on the Black Sea in the Ukraine  (Olena Mykhaylova via Fotolia)
A Worthy Life
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My dad is in heaven with Jesus this Christmas.  He is like the shepherds in the Christmas story, able to see Jesus face to face.  I’m happy he is well and rejoicing with the saints.  I find myself thinking of past Christmases when he built a fire in the fireplace and played his country Christmas music on the “hi-fi.”  I have a permanent picture in my mind of Mom and Dad seated at the fireplace, sharing their morning coffee together and waiting on their three daughters to get up and come open gifts.  My memories give me a lot to ponder this year.  

I am remembering the “Ninja Turtle Christmases” when our boys jumped for joy at the latest and greatest they had just found under the tree and torn open.  I remember celebrations with family, friends, churches and I remember quiet times of worship just between Jesus and me.

It’s Christmas Eve…a great day to “ponder.”  What do you rejoice over today?  Which memories bring laughter and which bring tears?  What are you missing and what are you looking forward to?  Christmas is about all of those things.

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, the skeptics of his day.  He told them he had come “that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).  As I ponder all the things that are important to me today, I can’t help but pray for the people in this world who don’t understand what is high and holy about Christmas.  They might be skeptics like the Pharisees or maybe they just haven’t taken the time to really ponder the deeper meanings of this life.  Almost every family has a member that has never met the Christmas child and received what he was born to give.  Take a moment and pray, by name, for whomever God brings to your heart right now.

Jesus didn’t come for a day or a holiday.  He came to give us abundant and fruitful lives.  Christmas is about what God wants to give eternally.  “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Today is Christmas Eve.  It is a day to celebrate and it is a day to ponder.  I pray that your Christmas will be blessed as you remember the past, enjoy the present and embrace the future.  May all of us say with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Merry Christmas to each of you.  May you be blessed by the favor of God as you celebrate the gift of his Son.

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