By Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret.

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

“And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51

There would be no Nativity story to tell without Mary! Because it was so very entrenched in the heart of the mother of Jesus. We have in the Bible a perfect rendition of these first two chapters of Luke as they happened: of the Annunciation, the Magnificat, the visit to her cousin Elizabeth’s house, the trip to Bethlehem, the stable birth of Jesus, the shepherd’s encounter with the angels, the purification rite in the Temple with Simeon and Anna, and finally Jesus at age 12 among the teachers of the Law in the Temple.

We would have none of this apart from Mary pondering and treasuring these experiences in her heart. But most especially, the Nativity story is precisely preserved—a story that rings in the hearts of literally tens of millions throughout the ages and throughout the world!

All of this was spoken by Mary to Luke from her first-person, eye-witness testimony. It had been pondered and treasured in Mary’s heart, kept there by the Spirit of God, and recounted to Luke years after, at the time he was enlisted by the same Holy Spirit to write the Gospel of Luke. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (1 Peter 1:20–21) Luke sat down with Mary and transcribed the first two chapters of his Gospel almost entirely from her own lips.

Two times in the same chapter, Luke saw fit to say of Mary that she “treasured and pondered all these things in her heart.” He wanted to make a point by saying it twice, that Mary did not struggle to remember the accounts, but she precisely saw, heard, and recalled the manner and words of these occurrences. They not only made a deep impression on her heart, but she thought long and hard upon them, pondering them over and over in her mind. Luke desired that we take note of this emphasis of Mary’s eye-witness testimony, which was truly treasured and pondered by her.

Mary’s character was such that the knowledge of her being the vessel of God’s molding the Son of God’s human body and spirit within her own body was something of ultimate, eternal significance. Almost too much for a mere human to fully take in! But in humility, with the heart and nature of a servant, she did.

But it is also true that in herself, with her own tools of mind and heart, as a creature made in God’s image, she would think on these things, remember them well, dwell on them deeply, and treasure these moments of such great magnitude. She, seeing that she considers herself a lowly handmaid of the Lord, would never allow the cares of this world to rob her of the significance, of being utilized by God to accomplish His magnificent purpose in the miraculous incarnation of His Son.

Being created in God’s image, while yet being fully human, Mary put every bit of herself into being the chosen mother of her Savior. And I think this is seen in her treasuring this in her heart and pondering it so much in her mind. Not momentarily, or fleetingly, but a lifelong, indeed, eternal mission.

It is the very way you ought to think on your own personal experience and intimate relationship with your Savior. Treasure Him in your heart and ponder Him in your mind. You will never be exactly like the Lord’s mother, as Mary is, but you are the LORD’s redeemed one, you are the LORD’s brother, you are the LORD’s beloved, and you are the Lord’s dear friend. Treasure Him in your heart, and ponder your relationship with Him in your mind, and do it often. In other words, mimic Mary. This is your most important Advent goal!


“And our eyes at last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love; for that Child so dear and gentle is our LORD in heaven above, and He leads His children on to the place where He is gone.”

(4th verse of Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn, “Once in Royal David’s City,” 1648)

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