Do we truly treasure God’s presence? We learn from scripture of a couple of instances where Mary treasured the circumstances around her with Jesus in her presence. During the visit from the shepherds, they told people about their encounter with the angel and what was said to them and the people just wondered about it, but Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. The second time is when Jesus was a young boy and remained in the temple listening to the teachers, while Mary and Joseph traveled back to Nazareth not knowing he wasn’t among them.
So far in her young life, Mary had had a visit from the angel Gabriel, had experienced a miraculous conception, had wise men travel, what would seem like, half way around the world, and bring gifts fit for a king, seen a baby leap in the womb of her cousin Elizabeth, been told by a man named Simeon that Jesus was the Messiah along with other experiences.
Mary was caring for a child, feeding, changing diapers, etc, who would eventually take care of her eternal needs. She would see her first child be beaten, unjustly persecuted and hung on a cross while living a perfect and sinless life. She was living out the story which we now have the complete picture of.
But we have to prepare ourselves for the encounters with God. When we pray we are speaking directly to God, the creator of the universe, the One who spoke creation into being, who made dry bones come to life. When we worship we are supposed to be offering all we have to God himself, giving Him His worth. The religious leaders of Jesus’s day, knew the scriptures inside and out, yet they did not believe that the Messiah had actually arrived, they were expecting some grand savior and king. They couldn’t “see the writing on the wall”. But Jesus came in the simplest life form as a baby. We have the whole story, from beginning to end and we know how it ends, we, those of us who proclaim Jesus Lord and Savior, are on the winning side.
Jeremiah (13:8-11) tells us that Israel and Judah had become useless, like an old belt, because of their pride and because they wouldn’t listen.
8Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9“Thus says the LORD, ‘Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10‘This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless. 11‘For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’
God’s creation is all around us, I believe he still does miracles on a daily basis, we just need to prepare our hearts to see it all and listen and treasure the times when He speaks to us and moves in our lives. God doesn’t always speak in great and awesome ways, sometimes He speaks to us in a whisper, sometime we need to stop and be quiet.
This Christmas, stop in the busyness and treasure what God has done. Don’t be useless, walk humbly and listen to God’s Word. Take in and ponder the real story of Christmas, the gift of a baby laying in a manger.