Aloha Friday Message – December 30, 2011 – There is room in my heart for you.

1152AFC123011 – There is room in my heart for you.

Read it online here.

KJV Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
NIV Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
NAS Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
NRS Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
YLT Luke 2:19 and Mary was preserving all these things, pondering in her heart;
NAB Luke 2:19 And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
NLT Luke 2:19 but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.
NJB Luke 2:19 As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Mary's Treasure

Happy Aloha Friday, Beloved! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas celebration. Soon we will be welcoming a New Year, and like many of you, I am already considering “resolutions,” things I’d like to include into my life. Granted, some of what I want to include will have to be done by excluding its opposite! If I want to stick with the traditional “loose weight,” I’m going to have to also resolve to “eat less and exercise more.” Since none of these have any definite parameters for measurement, the likelihood of success is iffy at best – maybe 50/50 if I even do anything at all. I’d like to read more, but then I’d have to find a way to stay awake after 8 PM. I’d like to resolve to be kinder – especially to fellow motorists – but then I’d have to decide that “Reparation Driving” would be the only way I would ever drive. What is Reparation Driving? Reparation Driving is the effort of generous souls who, in addition to what is already their duty, seek to give to the God more love and honor, thereby making up, in some small way, for the inconsideration and recklessness of careless drivers. It works like this:
• Make a simple “mental note” upon entering your car that you are offering this time to Jesus
• Prove your sincerity and love by driving to the best of your ability, observing all laws of traffic and courtesy
• Exercise the greatest charity toward others AND FOR OTHERS who are careless and thoughtless in their driving

The point of these kinds of resolutions is that you are making room in your heart for something that’s not only good for you, but good for other people, too. If I work on losing weight through exercise and better nutrition, that’s going to have an immediate effect on not only me, but my family as well. I’ll be healthier, perhaps live longer, and certainly be less likely to sludge out of existence before my time. If I spend more time reading, I’ll doubtless spend less time watching TV mindlessly and maybe be better prepared to help someone learn something or get something done. And if I am not quite so snarky behind the wheel, I might just be able to get to work without turning my knuckles white on the way and without spending my brain-power thinking up some spiffy epithet to hurl at a passing motorist – road wrath would diminish in Paradise. I just need to find room in my heart for these changes in behavior.

I mean, really, don’t we all just want to get along? Don’t we all just want to do the things that bring about Peace on Earth and let it begin with us? Well, certainly, that’s what we want. It is often, however, not what we do. Instead of wisely choosing things that are good for us and for our fellow travelers on Life’s Highway, we so often take up things that are really bad for us. You know the most important one – or at least you should know them by both name and face:

Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Indolence, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. In simple English, these would be unlawful sexual desire, materialistic excessiveness, unwarranted use and hording of food, indifference to being productive, inappropriate desires to circumvent justice, boastful mocking of what others have, and unilateral vanity about one’s self and one’s place in life. Get one or two of these stuffed into your heart, and the space for The Good Stuff becomes limited – sometimes very limited. We may not think of these things all the time – “Today I’m going to be really greedy and I think I’ll throw in a little lust while I’m at it.” In fact, the reason we get mired down in these very human failings is because we do not think about them. We just let them happen without giving them a thought.

In today’s scripture passage, we have a tiny snapshot of Mary, the mother of Jesus, listening to all sorts of preposterous, incredible things being said about her son, his birth, and what it will mean for the world. We can readily identify with this youngster who has had so much thrust into her lap in less than a year – a betrothal, an angelic visitor, a Messianic promise, an unexplainable pregnancy that could be a death sentence, a trip to her relative who is pregnant after decades of being childless, a harrowing trip across country near the end of her pregnancy, a way-less-that-ideal birthplace for her child, and then reports of celestial choirs and angelic rejoicing over a message that is stupendously amazing: God has been born to a virgin now resting in a stable. All this for a kid who was maybe 17 at the most – quite a year!

But, Mary made room for all of this in her heart, in her life, and in her mind. She treasured these moments – and doubtless the millions more that followed – and she didn’t allow room for doubt, or power-grabbing, or any other negative thing. She just held on to what she knew was right and good and true, and she did not tarnish those memories with her own twist. She treasured them, she thought about them often, brought them out to enjoy them often, and always gave God thanks and praise for these moments. The word used in this passage from Luke is συντηρέω {syntēreō}. It means to preserve something by keeping it in mind so that it is not lost , “rehearsing it” so to speak, so that it remains always available and always unchanged. Mary made room for those things, and that means she left out a lot of the other stuff – in fact all of the other stuff.

As you get ready to make you resolutions for this coming year, I ask you to think of Mary and the room she gave in her heart for Jesus, for his message, and even for his death, resurrection, and ascension. She made room that was totally free of “why me, why him, why now, why not, why, why, why?” She said “yes” and did what was right – whatever God asked.

What is God asking you? What “yes” does he hope to hear from you this year? Do you have room for that in your heart? If you don’t, can you see a few things you could move out to make room for those things? – – – Ah, see? You have to think about those things to make them visible. They are perfectly happy being in your heart, making you miserable, and being 99.98% invisible. Shine a little light on them and you can make them skedaddle. Then, load up on the good stuff. Remember Philippians 4:8? Follow Mary’s example. Only make room for the good stuff, and hold only those things in your heart and mind so they and your spirit become totally in sync.

Of all the resolves I have considered for the coming year, there is one I know will go a long way toward making the bad stuff go and the good stuff stay. I am fortifying and expanding the room in my heart for you. I want to make sure I pray for your needs every day, not just most days, and I want you encourage you in every way I can think of in each message to pray, pray, pray for each other and for this nation. I will do these things by following Mary’s example – to take you often into my memory from the depths of my heart and spend with you many happy hours in the joy of knowing you. Jesus left Heaven for you and me. He gave up everything – emptied himself – and did that so we could love each other for all eternity. Why not begin making that love grow this very day? There is room in my heart for you because there is room in my heart for Jesus.

Check out the links in the message, OK? I love you! Happy New Year! Joyous Epiphany!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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