What have buried treasure, the Virgin Mary & Winnie the Pooh got in common? You’ll soon find out!

Mary had been through an unusual year, to say the least. It had begun with an angelic visitation. Followed by an immaculate conception. The Holy Spirit had then inspired her to write one of most profound, prophetic songs ever (the Magnificat). She’d felt and seen a miraculous baby begin to grow inside. She got married – but only after an angel had given reassurance to her fiancée!) Together they’d travelled the long distance to Bethlehem and then she’d given birth to a baby boy in rather unusual circumstances. And now shepherds had just left, having said that a host of angels had sent them. What a series of extraordinary events!

As she reflected on all these things Luke tells us that Mary ‘treasured these things in her heart’ (2:19). To ‘treasure’ something is to make it precious. That’s what Mary did with all these wonderful events. They were a bit like buried treasure that needed uncovering and examining. So instead of letting them fade into the mists of time, she brought them to mind and allowed them to become cherished memories. They went from being buried treasure to real treasure.

As the end of 2013 approaches, what events and stories are you treasuring? What’s taken place that is of real value? Is there some buried treasure that you need to dig up from your memory and see it for the precious thing that it is?

I suspect Mary didn’t grasp the full significance of some of these events. Sure, she knew something very special was going on. And that it was linked to her baby, Jesus. But she probably didn’t fully understand it all. So what did she do? Luke is very clear what she did: ‘she pondered these things in her heart’ (2:19).

I love that! I love the idea of Mary pondering things.

The English word ‘ponder’ comes from the Latin ponderare. When a boat or ship was entering shallow water, a pondus or weight on a line was used to get an idea of how close the bottom of the sea was. We have a saying, ‘to get to the bottom of it’ meaning to probe and be able to see what currently is not obvious. Pondering is rather like that. It’s very close to the word ‘meditating’ – chewing over – except it’s a bit less intense than meditating. It’s a kind of relaxed thinking and mulling over.

I’ve always liked the word ‘ponder’ since reading Winnie the Pooh as a child. Pooh bear used to do a lot of pondering. I used to like the fact that – despite being a bear of little brain – he’d think a lot, and sometimes come out with some very profound things. He’d find meaning in little things. Especially in relationships. He’d come out with lovely things, like:
‘If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.’
Or how about:
‘What day is it?’ asked Pooh. ‘It’s today’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favourite day’ said Pooh.
Or this one:
‘You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.’
Winnie the Pooh liked to ponder.

In the world of business it’s been recognised that many CEO’s of large corporations are so busy they don’t get enough thinking time. So they’re being urged to make time in their diary, each week, to think. Thinking time. Pondering time.

The great hymn Praise to The Lord the Almighty the King of creation tells us to ‘Ponder anew, what the Almighty can do’.

So find some time for pondering. Ponder when walking down the street. Ponder whilst lying in bath. Ponder whilst driving in car. Ponder as you eat your toast. Do some pondering. Dig up some buried treasure and take some time to examine it in your heart and mind.

That’s how you treasure things. By pondering.

If you can, do some pondering between now and Christmas. Make some space and invite the Holy Spirit into your thinking. As you ponder, allow events to become cherished memories that you will treasure in your heart and take into eternity.

How is your pondering going? Can you be intentional in making time to ponder, this Advent?