As Christmas approaches, I find this heart of mine naturally drawn to the passage of scripture in Luke 2 where Jesus’ birth is recorded. Not for the first time, one phrase in particular rings out more than the others, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19, 51, NIV)
My question is what kind of heart treasures was Mary storing up? What was she pondering? Could it be she was thinking back to the conversation she shared with the angel (Luke 1:26-38)? Maybe it was the time she spent with Elizabeth in the early stages of her pregnancy (Luke 1:41)? Was she recalling the marvel of her first visitors the night Jesus was born (Luke 2:15-18)? Or perhaps she was pondering the encounter she had with Simeon (Luke 2:21-38).
What exactly did he mean when Simeon said, “a sword will pierce your own soul” (Luke 2:35)? No doubt she gave that much thought. Did she have any idea of what lay ahead? If she did, it’s no wonder she treasured every moment she could. Including everyday moments as Jesus grew in strength, wisdom, and grace.
Like Mary, I, too, have learned to treasure up things in my heart. And having recently moved, not only to a new city but into a new chapter of life, I’m pondering all of it.
You can imagine what it’s been like to take inventory of all my earthly treasures, which I’ve had to unpack one-by-one. Treasures I’ve gathered representing significant people and events in my life. It’s these treasures that have inspired me as — paying especially close attention to my home office — I’ve decorated my new home. You see, my goal is not to simply set up an office, but to create a ‘joy room’ (being given the idea by a long-time friend). I rejoice in saying it has already resulted in much inspiration and exceeding!
To begin with, my joy room is situated toward the back of our new home overlooking a lovely, private, green-space where I can gaze upon all of God’s glorious creation. From my perch, I’m given cause to ponder every season of my life and reflect on the treasury and wealth of God’s goodness and grace in my life.
The purpose of my joy room is to have a space where I can spend valuable time basking in God’s radiant presence; reading, studying, feeding and meditating on His Word in my heart. It’s my prayer, that in this room, God would fill my mind with good things to ponder; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy and that out of the abundance and wellspring of my heart creative juices will spill into the hearts of others in the form of fresh writing and speaking material full of words of encouragement, hope, and, of course, joy in this next chapter of my life.
In order to create a joyous working space, I’ve thoughtfully and selectively chosen to surround myself with specific items reminding me of significant people who have brought me joy at momentous times in my life. For example, I have a ‘Hope’ mug, plaques, and figurines given me by fellow sojourners who have left footprints on my heart as I’ve traveled life’s road. Focal points consist of pictures of my most treasured possessions — my children — as well as the two newest additions to my collection (my grandsons). I’ve hung a beautiful portrait of my son, Ben, painted by a complete stranger who followed our family’s journey through his leukemia battle. Our family’s motto, gifted in various forms, is displayed in strategic places reminding me that “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain”. A picture of our family at our daughter, Natalie’s wedding — a day we all chose to literally “dance in the rain” — takes up residence on my windowsill. A wing-back chair occupies a cozy, sun-filled corner of the room and hosts a special pillow gifted me with words “Live in the moment”. A bouquet of sunflowers welcomes thoughts of my sunshine girl, Erin, and reminds me to turn my face toward the Son. Finally, my joy room wouldn’t be complete without my treasury of prayer journals, recording God’s faithfulness in my life.
There is one more thing I’ll mention that I have displayed amongst my treasures in my joy room. It’s a stone with several sparkling layers on which I’ve written the word, “Treasured” with reference to Malachi 3:17; reminding me that I am the Lord’s treasured possession. You see, God has a treasury all His own more valuable than anything this world can afford. He’d like to add you to this collection!
What kind of things are you treasuring up and pondering in your heart as Christmas approaches? As you place memorable items around your home and hang precious gems and ornaments on your tree, take time to think about the things you value. Better yet, take time to think about how valuable you are to the Lord. If you haven’t already done so, why don’t you consider accepting His most precious gift —the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus so that you can treasure Him in your heart this Christmas just as Mary did that first Christmas?
Merry Christmas straight from the heart
“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (Is. 44:3 NIV)
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Contact Lisa at: firstname.lastname@example.org