What are you pondering this Christmas season? Are you pondering about what gifts to buy for someone? The craziness of an essential job? Normally we have a lot going on around us and in our lives this time of year. Events, honey-do lists, kids activities, needs at church, etc. Our American culture tends to be busy all of the time, but especially now in this time of year. This year we have less events. Big parties, plays, even family events all cancelled. Churches are considering new ways to celebrate Christmas Eve. Every year this time is rough on some of those among us but for the first time we don’t have as many events and we feel more isolated.
In one of the Eureka Christmas specials (“Do You See What I See” Season 4, Episode 21) we find Jack, Allison and their family enjoying the last minutes of Christmas Eve and Allison is not even close to ready. She has so many things to do yet. She had grown up with very little Christmas and so now that she has kids, she tends to go way beyond the call of duty.
With all the hub-bub going on, a bunch of signals get crossed and they all become animated. Literally, their senses start perceiving everything as various forms of animation throughout the episode because of another Eureka technical blunder. Joe Lupo becomes a version of Snow White, the police jeep gets a personality and complains, Taggart even becomes an animal. They go from one form of animation to another to another, much like 2020 has gone from one crazy deal to another ridiculous haphazard to yet another giant obstacle.
Of course it all is fine in the end, but they don’t really have time for individual pondering about the reason for the season. Luke records many things happening at Jesus birth. Travels to Bethlehem, angels appearing to shepherds, the census, etc. But one of the biggest lesson comes from Mary:
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
This verse comes to us during the night itself, when the shepherds came to find Jesus and the town was bustling with travelers for the census as well as Roman soldiers. Have you ever considered the actual atmosphere? People walking past the door looking for a place to stay or where to sign up for the census. Roman soldiers harassing the citizens because they would rather be fighting “for the glory of Rome” instead of “babysitting” a bunch of Jews. Vendors selling bread, fish, papyrus and other goods. People complaining about how much in taxes they had to pay.
I think Mary had other things on her mind, though. What it would mean for God’s Son to be born near the animals instead of a private room? Why would angels tell shepherds, whom people disliked, a smelly and out-cast group. Why was she chosen? How would she raise a child that was supposed to change everything? Why were angels constantly appearing to proclaim the coming of this child? Remember they had approached her, Joseph, and now the shepherds.
Here we find Jesus operating as both “Lion” with great pomp and ceremony of angels proclaiming his birth and as “Lamb” by being born not in a palace but in what would have been a barn and only those with little respect and means being told about it by these angels.
In all of the hub-bub of the aforementioned Eureka episode, there are some interesting character explorations as a robot takes time to learn from Rudolph (who is in dog form). In order to learn this, he has to sit down and allow Rudolph to ponder his existence with him. He has to stop and be still for a time.
In this wacky year of 2020 filled with disease, cancellations, uproars, deaths, and even a mysterious monolith appearing but then disappearing, we have need to ponder. Not about all the scary or frustrating things around us, but about the Christ that sits with us in the middle of this confusion. He is Immanuel, God with us. He sits in 2020 with us even thought He is far above us and our problems. Some of us have more time to focus and ponder because we don’t have work due to closings, but others of us have kids home all day long to help with school work or an essential job that gives us hours upon hours each week.
In the middle of all this, what are you pondering? Take the time to ponder Christ, who is with us. Maybe that means taking a walk and talking to Him. Maybe that means listening to some worship music. Perhaps it means reading one of the Gospels throughout the month of December or journaling about some experience you have with Him.