A Christmas Message from ALSM’s President & CEO

Greetings of the season!

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

What does the word “treasure” mean to you? To me, it means counting things up, almost like making a list so that I will not forget anything. It is what I do at the end of a busy day to make sure I do not forget anything that has happened.

The word “pondered” goes deeper than “wondering” I think. It focuses on events as you have laid them out in your memory. Then you go beneath the surface to try to understand what it all means and why it happened the way it did.

No doubt Mary went back to what Gabriel said, and how Joseph responded when she told him she was pregnant, and then the amazing dream Joseph had. She may have recalled the long, arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and all the events of the birth of her son, the Christ child, including the surprise visit of the shepherds. She certainly had plenty about which to think. No doubt she continued to wonder why God had chosen her and I am sure she pondered what was ahead for her newborn son.

Pondering is hard work, which is why many of us likely never get around to it. And yet, this is the perfect time of the year to do it. What better time than December to ponder what God has taught us? To look back over the last year and consider the ways and works of God in your life and in the world around us.

Here is a simple exercise that may help you do some serious pondering before the year ends in a few short weeks:

Set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time.

Find a quiet place. Turn off the television, the radio, and the CD player.

Begin with a silent reflection.

Make a “Top Ten” list along these lines: The Top Ten things that have happened in your life in 2019. Those things can be events that happened to you personally or things that happened to others that had a major impact on you. These things can be good or not so good, victories or defeats. Make the category as broad as you like.

As you look at your list, ask yourself if there are any patterns. Any lessons?

Use all of this reflection for the basis for 2020.

Mary pondered what God had been doing in her life. We all can learn a lesson for all of us to follow.

May you and your loved ones experience a joyous Advent season and a blessed Christmas.

May the New Year be filled with lots of possibilities and blessings!

In his service,

Patricia W. Savage