Wednesday, December 11, 2013

like mary {grace words wednesday}

that's me in the blue! clearly, i'm  pondering (something).
i was mary once. really, i was.

and i assure you, i knew i was an imposter back then at age 11, just as i know it today at 45.

i'm not a mary and it has nothing to do with her virgin birth or no room in the inn, but everything to do with luke chapter 2. verse 19:
 "but mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." 

she treasured and she pondered.

and for that, mary must have stood still long enough to do both.

i, on the other hand, am not doing a whole lot of standing still these days. not in this season ...

and yet ... i want to be. i long to be.

only yesterday morning, i was in bible study and our speaker talked about doing christmas differently this year. she said,
"this year, all i want for christmas is Jesus. Jesus. just to know Him better, to see Him more clearly, to worship Him more wonderfully."
she went on to explain how when she went shopping for the perfect gifts for her children, she wanted to remember it is Jesus who is the perfect gift. when she hung christmas lights on her tree she wanted to think about Jesus, the Light of the World. and when she baked cookies she wanted to keep in mind Who it is that truly satisfies.

i listened to her words and loved everything she was saying. shaking my head in agreement, i thought to myself, "yes, sister, yes!"

but, if i'm honest, i also sat cringing a bit in my secret knowledge of who i really am and how i really operate. especially in busy seasons like these.

i'm not mary. and often, i forget about Jesus.

i, too, want to string lights and remember the Light of the World. but it was just last week that i was wrestling (yes, wrestling) with that stupid, stubborn strand of lights on our tree that went out AGAIN.

i want to remember when i pop a cookie or two (or ten) into my mouth that only Jesus really satisfies  -- but, oh man, how i do love those christmas cookies! i am pretty sure when i was eating one cookie after another at our holiday gathering on sunday i didn't once think about Jesus!

and then, just yesterday morning, at the beginning of her talk, i was half listening while making a list on my iphone of things i had yet to do in my day.

anyone slightly appalled (yet) at the irony or sheer ridiculousness of this situation?

anyone else struggling in this same way?

there i was listening to a lovely lady talk about keeping christ the focus of christmas and i was focusing on my errand list. i was plotting how just after bible study i would quick dash over to the craft store in the next town and purchase my large paper mache letters which i would quick dash home and paint and then arrange on my mantle to spell out "NOEL." (one of those strange decorating "visions" i am prone to).

there i was hearing about the first noel, the birthday of Jesus, and my need to focus on Him, and there i was a woman with no focus.

i wasn't treasuring.

i wasn't pondering.

i wasn't listening.

no, instead i was on my iphone typing. plotting. listing.

because i'm jody and i'm nothing like mary.

mary who the bible tells us was just a young girl. simple. scared. overwhelmed. on her own.

mary who had no experience in birth.
mary who had no midwife or doctor.
mary who had no room in the inn.
mary who had no clue what would be required.

mary who was wrapping in swaddling clothes the very Son of God. the King of Kings.  the Redeemer of Nations. the Prince of Peace.

and i think i'm overwhelmed with what i have to do?

give me a break!

young mary, overwhelmed and under-experienced, was holding Jesus. Jesus!

and yet the scripture, in no way, suggests that she was fretting or pacing or panicking. the only thing it reveals about this young mother after giving birth to the Christ child is her treasuring and pondering.

oh Lord, make me a little bit more like mary.

i don't have to dress up in a blue sheet and hold a baby doll in front of a church service, but Jesus, make me still enough in this christmas season to treasure you. make me quiet enough to ponder the Prince of Peace. make me take notice of the First Noel.

all week in minnesota we've dipped below zero degrees. tonight we are expecting a low of minus 10. it's cold. frozen. frigid. there's a lot of snow. and with this snow comes a hush. a quiet. it's the kind of weather which just makes a person want to stay put. to sit in front of the fire with a cup of coffee. to stare out the window and watch the flakes fall. to be still.

“be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,  
  I will be exalted in the earth!” ~ psalm 46:10

like mary: still. treasuring. pondering the Son of God. the exalted among all nations.

sure, everyone's got a lot to do in december and this kind of weather is more like january -- even in minnesota. but the deep cold has come early this year and the stillness and hush have set in.

and today, i realized, i'm kind of glad.

if i can't make myself be still and quiet and calm in this season, than i'm thankful the weather is keeping me in a bit. {okay, so i did rush over to the craft store after bible study yesterday --- i cannot lie} --- but on the way home, i thought more about the message of the morning, and i realized the frozen, bare landscape outside my window is just another reminder to seek Jesus, just as He arrived to mary in that stable --- beautiful. simple. quiet. Jesus.

oh friends, i don't know what it might take for you. but i'm praying this morning that, like mary, you might trade in your december trips and panic for God's treasure and pondering.

whether your hands are nestled in warm mittens or not, let them open to hold the perfect gift, the Christ child ... like mary. 

looking out my front window ...  sometimes God is so incredibly clear.

{grace words: treasuring. pondering. still. noel}

okay, so here's the (infamous) N O E L ...

becky's writing some grace words this morning too! check her out at THE WORD OF GOD AND A CUP OF JOE!


Kristy said...

I typed a beautiful and profound comment to this post. It was truly awe-inspiring. And then I hit publish and it vanished. So I'm just letting you know that I was here and I read your post and it was inspiring.

Christina said...

Loved this so much - thank you - what a beautiful home you have. Love the "NOEL."

jodymcnatt said...

christina and kristy -- thank you both for your sweet comments. my blog has had all sorts of problems with comments -- i am so sorry! i've tried to fix it, but can't seem to. i'll be switching over to wordpress at some point in the new year. uugh! i had to change a setting (again) just to reply here myself! this stuff makes me crazy. but thank you for taking the time to leave some words. i appreciate them.
merry christmas!

Becky Crenshaw said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post Jody! Your writing is so beautiful and thought-provoking and you also have a beautiful family and home. I have wrestled with similar thoughts at Christmas and have streamlined my holiday prep a little bit. When I see elaborate Christmas displays, I love to be in awe and think about how it all was inspired by Jesus. I also have been trying to remember to make 10 affirmations each day when I am running around like crazy! They are simple little prayers, such as knowing that God is protecting and guiding each of my children at every moment, or knowing that God is pure Love, and is in every single one of us. God bless and Merry Christmas! I appreciate your thoughts! Thanks again! Susan

Kelli said...

Thank you for this, Jody. I'm glad I sat still long enough to read your beautiful words this morning.