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16 So the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2)

I’ve been thinking about this set of verses for a few days now, and the two words that have kept popping out to me as I’ve read them and thought about them are “treasured” and “pondered.”
Being kind of a nerd, I looked the Greek translations of these words up to see what Luke was getting at when he wrote this version of the Birth of Jesus.  While treasured isn’t a horrible translation, a better one might be “kept”  or “preserved.” Mary kept these things.  Mary preserved these things.  And the word we translate as “ponder” actually means “brought together.”  So Mary kept these things she heard about Jesus from the shepherds, and brought them together with the things she already knew in her heart.

I think this is what we’re supposed to do too. 

No matter how many Christmas Eve services I have been a part of, no matter how many times I hold up my candle and sing “silent night, holy night,”  something new happens. 
Some new feeling is stirred up, or I hear some text differently, or I hear the carols in a new way based on things I’ve experienced in the past year.
No matter what, each year I experience Emmanuel, God with us, again.
I’m reminded that light has come into the darkness.
I’m reminded that God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to ME. 
Little ol me.
“For unto YOU on this day a child is born”  
For you. 
For me. 
God with us.
And I feel it.

And this is when these words about Mary mean something to ME.
Because when I have that moment of God with me, I preserve it.
I keep it.  I hold it close.
And like Mary, this new experience of Christ is added to all the others I’ve had and makes it more.
A little deeper, a little more full.

Today, the day after Christmas, take some time and think about the ways in which you experienced Emmanuel, God with us, in the past two days.
Keep it. Preserve it. Hold onto it.
Then add it into all the other ways you’ve also experienced Christ in the days, months, and years before this.
Put them all together and you too will get a greater picture of God at work in you and in the world.
It’s a powerful exercise, and one that I challenge you to do today.
Write it down, or talk it out with someone.
It’s a stunning reminder of how present God really is in our lives.

God before us. God behind us.  

God above us. God below us. 
God beside us. 
God with us.

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