“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NIV)
Jesus taught us to store up treasures in heaven. Today we read how Mary, the mother of Jesus, reacted after hearing the words and testimony of the shepherds the night Jesus was born. Mary and Joseph were interrupted by them in the middle of the night, just a short time after Mary gave birth to the Son of God. We have been hearing and talking about the events of the Christmas story and now today is the day we focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus our Savior. The shepherds had some marvelous things to report of what they had seen and what the angel had told them. When Mary heard all this she received and believed it and she made the news her very own. It became part of her life story. It became very precious to her like a rich treasure. We are told that Mary gave much thought to what she had heard for it was very meaningful. How about us? Let’s give much thought to the promise of a savior whose birth we celebrate today and let’s also treasure it in our hearts as we ponder on what it means for us.
“ Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones. … To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:15 & 17 (NASB)
The psalmist recalls how he faced certain death and God acted to save him. God extended his life of service. He vowed to acknowledge the Lord and to pay his vows in the temple. Psalm 116 is a personal song of thanksgiving for deliverance from impending death. While physical death is imminent in respect to the span of all time, we do not dwell on the thought so much. Until we become aware that it is looming. If we have not yet been in that situation we all likely know someone who has or is. The psalmist wrote this song because when he experienced the nearness of death, he cried for help, God pulled him out of danger of death. So, he promises to let all people know how thankful he is. His words of praise to God and the giving of a proper thanksgiving sacrifice are done publicly. Like he stood on the steps leading into the Temple and affirmed his thanks to God to all. We know God cares about each of us, even when physical death comes our way. Our promise is that our life, the life of every believer, is precious to God.