A Lesson in Spiritual Disciplines from Jesus' Mother
There’s a verse in Luke’s account of the birth of Christ that sticks out like a sore thumb. The tone of it is completely different from the surrounding paragraphs and it almost seems like Luke inserted it well after he had the story of the first Christmas written out. In Luke 2:19 we read…
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
With all the amazement and wonder at Gabriel’s appearance to her, Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist, her firstborn’s birth in a stable in Bethlehem, the visit from the shepherds… Mary had the presence of mind to stop, to contemplate, and to treasure up everything that God had caused to happen to her. She never wanted to forget.
There are many spiritual disciplines that we can practice to help us grow in our relationship with Christ. One that often gets little publicity but has helped me greatly through the years is journaling.
Journaling is essentially doing what Mary did in Luke 2:19 - treasuring up these things and pondering them in our hearts. When God does something in your life - or even when he refuses to do something - putting your thoughts to paper forces you to deal with them. It forces you to slow down, to meditate and think and interpret what God is doing in your life at that moment. That’s something we rarely do unless we have an intentional practice like journaling. Journaling orders the chaos of our minds so we can make sense of it.
Another wonderful benefit of journaling, though, is the ability to look back through previous entries and to be reminded of God’s faithfulness, his goodness to you, or even your own impatience or nearsightedness. My faith grows deeper and stronger when I go back and read about all the times God has proven himself to me.
As parents and grandparents I’m sure we’ll try to treasure up in our hearts all the joys of Christmas this year. But as children of God let us develop a practice of doing this intentionally and regularly so that we will never forget the faithfulness of our God.