Surprised by the gift of his presence
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
—Luke 2:19 NKJV
While 2020 has presented us with unimaginable challenges, we can all agree there have also been some surprising blessings along the way: many families have grown closer. Perspectives have shifted. We’ve been forced to slow down. And many of us have asked ourselves if we ever really want to get back to the pace we were moving at PC (pre-COVID-19).
I have personally been learning more about the spiritual discipline of stillness: meditating on the Lord and his word, resisting the urge to rush through my devotions, and instead resting in God’s presence. While I’m no pro at this yet, I’ll always remember 2020 as the year I began to develop a greater capacity, and a greater desire, for stillness and reflection.
During these times, I have learned to pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly and thoughtfully. Sometimes I listen to quiet worship music or just imagine sitting with Jesus. Recently, on my birthday, I started a list of answered prayers and unnoticed gifts from as far back as I could remember. My hand finally wore out when I realized I could write all day and the list would still just be beginning. After practicing stillness for several months, I can now hardly imagine starting my days any other way.
While reading through the book of Luke, I have been reminded that Mary was one to ponder. To store up treasures in her heart. To marvel at God’s ways. And I realized that this is, indeed, a right response to Jesus’ birth and God’s work in our lives.
And Joseph and His Mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
—Luke 2:33 NKJV
Advent is always a busy season, and, while 2020 may not look typical, I’m sure we’ll still find ways to make it hectic (or is that just me?) Yet, what if in the midst of this season, we take a little extra time to slow down? To ponder? To make lists of God’s gifts and the multitude of prayers that he has, indeed, answered both this year and in all of the years of our lives?
What if we allow God to redeem these final days of a very difficult year by drawing near to him, marveling at his goodness, and pondering all of these things in our hearts? We might just be surprised to find the greatest gift in the simple beauty of his Presence.
- What are some blessings you have found in the midst of the challenges of 2020?
- When might you set aside time to slow down, to ponder God’s goodness, and to simply be present?
- How can you wrap up 2020 with a new sense of awe and wonder at God’s goodness?