One Christmas, my grandmother gave me a beautiful pearl necklace. The beautiful beads glowed about my neck until one day the string broke. Balls bounced in all directions off our home’s hardwood flooring. Crawling over the planks, I recovered each tiny orb. On their own, they were small. But oh, when strung together, those pearls made such an impression!
Sometimes my yeses to God seem so insignificant—like those individual pearls. I compare myself to Mary, the mother of Jesus who was so fantastically obedient. She said yes when she embraced God’s call for her to carry the Messiah. “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’” (Luke 1:38). Did she understand all that would be required of her? That an even bigger yes to relinquishing her Son on the cross loomed ahead?
After the visits of the angels and shepherds, Luke 2:19 tells us that Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Treasure means to “store up.” Ponder means to “thread together.” The phrase is repeated of Mary in Luke 2:51. She would respond with many yeses over her lifetime.
As with Mary, the key to our obedience might be a threading together of various yeses to our Father’s invitations, one at a time, until they string into the treasure of a surrendered life.
In Luke 2:15–19, we see several responses to God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus. The shepherds responded by believing and then acting on their urgent desire to see what God had done (v. 15). After seeing Jesus, they shared the news (v. 17), which the people responded to with amazement (v. 18). But Mary’s response is arguably deeper than all of these responses, and likely one Luke intended to be a model of faith. When Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (v. 19), she continued a long tradition of God’s people responding to His revelation by internalizing it in their hearts through ongoing pondering or meditation (see Psalm 119:11; Proverbs 3:1–3).