I think we don’t do enough of it. Pondering. It’s not even a word we use very much. When did you last hear someone say they were pondering something? If you did, it probably meant they were going to take a while to think about something. We don’t like people to take a while to ponder – we like instant answers to our questions. Come to think of it, we don’t like people to take a while to do anything. We like things done now, and we like things done fast. When someone pulls out in front of us on the road, we sigh. When the person in front of us at the checkout spills their change, we moan. When we miss the bus and have to wait for the next one, we shout – inwardly, anyway. So what does pondering mean? The dictionary definition is ‘to consider something deeply and thoroughly’. Nothing quick or easy about that. That takes time. And effort. Advent is about waiting. We are waiting for Christmas Day, when we celebrate the coming of the baby Jesus into the world. It’s a time of waiting, anticipating, expecting. Of course people are waiting for all kinds of things. Presents, parties, holidays to name but a few. But it can also be a time to pause, to slow down, to think, to ponder.
The Bible says that Mary the mother of Jesus ‘treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19, ESV). The Amplified Bible puts it this way: ‘But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart.’ I like that – pondering and weighing. Mary had a lot to ponder. Her pregnancy had been announced to her by an angel. Then her baby’s birth was heralded by a host of angels. Shepherds came to find the baby – and wise men came to worship him. Mary had a lot to ponder. And so do we. Take time this Advent season to slow down, to ponder.