When I think about Mary’s faith, the first thing that comes to mind is how she said yes to the angel who told her that she would give birth to God’s Son, Jesus. But her faith was much more than that single moment. It included a willingness to reflect on what God was doing in her life—and to act accordingly.
She pondered everything about Jesus. After Mary gave birth, shepherds came to visit. Angels had just told these shepherds that a Saviour was born, and they were very curious. Luke 2:15 tells us that “the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened.’” Even though Mary could have been annoyed by their visit, instead she treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart’’ (Luke 2:19 ESV). Mary used interruptions to reflect on God’s blessing on her life.
Another time, when Jesus was about twelve years old, he interrupted his family’s pilgrimage by staying at the temple to talk to the religious leaders. He didn’t tell his parents, and naturally, they worried. When they found him, they were upset—but Jesus surprised them by his perspective: he saw the temple as his Father’s house. Again Mary pondered this strange occurrence in her heart (Luke 2:49). It’s amazing that she seemed to make this a habit in her life
Just because she pondered doesn’t mean she didn’t act. I admire Mary and Joseph’s obedience when they fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:15). Although they were probably exhausted, travelling with a baby, they kept following God’s plan for them. Mary’s willingness to ponder did not replace her willingness to get up and take action. Instead, this motivated her to follow God. I want to have the same determination to contemplate and obey the tasks that God has for me. For example, being a young adult is so hard. Sometimes I feel that because I have a disability called cerebral palsy, I will be stuck in my parents’ house forever. However, like Mary, I’m trying to be patient and obey God’s commands when they come.
When I’m doing my devotions or just being quiet, sometimes I reflect on how God has blessed me and is using me. To me, pondering means I’m lost in thought, praising God for who he is and for the blessings that he shows me. When I’m praying my mind wanders, but pondering involves more than just a good attention span. It involves a willingness to stop and consider how God might see things. Since it’s the Christmas season, my mind wanders back to the first Christmas. True, it’s harder to imagine a silent night when the world is so interrupted. However I’m slowly learning what Jesus meant about having his peace. A “peace that surpasses all understanding,’’ as the apostle Paul described it in Philippians 4:7.
Sometimes I wonder what God has in store for me, especially since my disability confines me to a wheelchair. I believe that he wants me to be a writer, but I question what else he wants me to do. I’m waiting for God’s instructions, like Mary. This Christmas, I’m pondering on how I can bring God’s peace to my family and to the world, especially considering the crazy year we’ve had. As God brings ideas to mind, I want to simply obey and take action on them. It’s true that Christmas time can be busy, but I have to remember whose birthday I’m celebrating.
I admire Mary’s faith and her love for her Saviour. Of course, I don’t worship her, but I think her faith is unmistakable. As I ponder, I want my love for God to grow and be used for his glory. I’m learning how to trust God and let go of the things that I can’t control. Just like God was pleased with Mary’s and Joseph’s obedience, I want God to be pleased with me.
About the Author
She also gives some of her time mentoring a high school student who lives with the same disability. Olivia enjoys giving presentations to her former elementary school educating students about disabilities and how to treat people with disabilities. In her spare time she reads, sings, travels, swims and spends time with family and friends.