Devotional: Something I was pondering

Published 5:16 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

“Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us. We did not entreat the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and reflecting on his fidelity.” — Daniel 9:13 NRS

As I write this, we are just a few days away from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when we celebrate the great gift of Emanuel, God with us. At this time, we should be centering our thoughts on how good God has been, is being and will continue to be. While Daniel chides the Israelites for not, “reflecting” on God’s “fidelity”, in my mind I go to the very Southern notion of “pondering”.

I first remember hearing this term as a very young boy fishing with my grandfather. At the ripe old age of almost five, it seemed to me that to catch something we needed to go after them. My grandfather wisely said that fish would come to us and instead of running around trying to catch them, we should “ponder” on the sights and smell of the ocean gently meeting the shore, the birds flying in the ocean breezes and the glory of the sun rising. Being new to this business of “being still and listening” I had to ask, “What is pondering?”

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My grandfather smiled and told me it was something one learns to do by doing, by being still and letting your mind go to everything else except yourself. “Pondering”, he said, “is about being a part of something bigger than you, bigger than anything you can imagine.” I failed at my first attempt to ponder, but I was encouraged to keep trying

Often in the Scriptures, we hear of people pondering. Mary “pondered” when the angel came to tell her of her entry into a creation that was much bigger than she thought it was. She pondered over the words of the shepherds who had seen the angelic choir, came to worship the newborn child. I am sure Joseph did a bit of pondering when he heard his part in this story. As the “Christ Child” grew to adulthood, many pondered his wonderful message.

Yet, many people could not recognize the Christ. They could not, or refused to, ponder. In a day and time when Google answers all our questions without us even thinking, perhaps…just perhaps, we should spend some time pondering.

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at kleach@hsc.edu.