A baby changes everything. When our first was on his way, someone gave us a card that said on the front page, "Congratulations!" It had the picture of the cutest baby you would ever see until ours was born. But then you opened it up and saw these words in large, bold print: "Life as you once knew it is over!"

It was. Babies do have a way of disrupting the routine of life. It starts as soon as their existence is announced.

"Guess what honey?"

The young husband has no clue. "Did I forget our anniversary?" he wonders.

He takes a stab at it: "It's our anniversary! Happy anniversary!" he declares. She scowls and says, "No dear, that's not for three months."

After a few feeble attempts — "Birthday? First date anniversary? Your mother is coming to live with us?!" — he does what he usually does. He gives up.

"Why don't you just tell me?"

This time she can't hold it in any longer: "We're pregnant!"

At first he thinks, "We're pregnant? I'm a guy. Why would she say 'we'?" And soon he realizes that although he will not have a bouncing baby boy or girl growing inside his body, he is indeed pregnant, too. When she tosses and turns in a sleepless night, he doesn't sleep either. When she is hungry for Baskin and Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream, he will be eating it, too. When her back aches, his will too once he is done massaging hers.

I know. I've been there and maybe you have too. Those nine months are designed for the baby to be nourished and grow. But they are also for the parents to prepare. Their routines become shaped by preparation for the arrival of the baby. A crib is assembled. A room is decorated. Diapers are stockpiled. Then the day arrives.

The problem is that when he "arrived," Kristofer didn't look like what I thought he would look like. Red-faced. Matted hair. Slime all over his body. Not the clean, days-old babies you see in the movies.

I said, "Karen, he's great. I think he favors your side of the family."

Yes, when Kristofer was born, our world changed. And when Jesus was born, the whole world changed.

Mary's world certainly did! The angel Gabriel appeared and announced: "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). Gabriel explains that the natural will be replaced by the supernatural with words like "the Holy Spirit will come upon you" and "the power of the Most High will overshadow" (Luke 1:35). These are words found in the Greek Old Testament that describe the hovering of the Spirit of God over the waters at creation. The Holy Spirit (that was part of the creation in the beginning) would cause the creation of this child "…for nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37).

To this Mary simply responds in faith: "I am the Lord's servant... May your word to me be fulfilled" (Luke 1:38). The word "servant" when literally translated means "slave." We may not like this word, so it gets softened to "servant." But Mary understands her role. She is giving up her hopes and dreams and even her own body to submit herself to the plans of God. She is giving up her questions of what is happening, why it is happening, or where is her life going to end up to an understanding of herself as "slave."

When the birth comes, so do shepherds. They've seen angels, too! So they come to see the child. They leave, and like the end of Christmas day after opening all of the presents, playing with toys, feasting on the Christmas ham or turkey, and enjoying all the commotion and excitement of the day, the night is suddenly still.

And maybe for the first time since delivering the baby, Mary had an opportunity to reflect on all that has happened. Luke tells us that "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:18). She reviewed all that had happened to change her world and spent some moments and "pondered" them in her heart. The word "pondered" comes from the compound verb symballo. Sym means "together" and ballo means "to throw." So together, the word means "to throw things together."

We sometimes picture Mary sitting over to the side of the activity somewhere, rocking her little baby boy, having a Hallmark® kind of moment. But in reality, much more is happening in Mary's heart. This word translated "pondered"is used to describe the work of a prophet — someone who would discern what God is up to and announces it to everyone else. That's what Mary is doing. She gets it! This baby is the son of God. He's going to change things. He's bringing mercy. He will bring down the mighty and exalt those who are low. He will feed the hungry that the rich won't help. Her little baby boy is going to rule in a way that Augustus never dreamed (Luke 1:46-55). In a short time, Mary's world had changed, and she was throwing things together to make sense of what God was doing in her life with her baby boy.

Maybe your world has changed, too. Christmas time is not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone: Layoffs leave some wondering how to pay the bills. Sickness sends presents down the list of priorities. Divorce darkens holiday lights. Death of a loved one steals some Christmas joy.

We picture Mary rocking her little baby boy while having a Hallmark® kind of moment.
Christmas is a time to ponder. So this season in the midst of throwing together your preparations for a gathering, may you find some quiet moments to throw together all that is happening in your life so that it makes sense in the light of God sending his Son. See the good and the difficult.

The blessings and the bad. But make sure you also throw into your considerations all that the child born in Bethlehem has brought to you. Ponder your world less and ponder Christ more and offer your future to live for him.

But be forewarned. This baby changes everything.

Rick's article helps us understand a little bit what it meant for Mary to ponder what God was at work doing in her life. A great song that helps us reflect on this pondering is the beautiful song, "Be Born in Me"! Use this song to help you ponder what God is doing in your life!

Find the Video Here