Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Johnnie Alexander | Spread the Christmas Joy


The Moments We Treasure

My children never dreamed of a white Christmas. They never found ice skates or sleds or thick woolen mittens under the tree. We didn’t spend the afternoon making snow angels or building snowmen.

You see, my children grew up in the Sunshine State. The thermometer might dip low enough for us to wish we had thick woolen mittens, but the cold spell never lasted long.

Each child eventually asked that all important question: when are the birds going to fly south for the winter?

I’d smile, quite amused, and explain that here, Florida, was where the birds flew to for the winter.

Christmas memories. Family traditions.

These are the moments we treasure in our hearts.

A young Hebrew girl, who was there on that very first Christmas Day, treasured moments in her heart, too.

As much as I love that angels appeared to shepherds and that shepherds worshipped the newborn baby in the manger, the verse I find most enchanting is Luke 2:19. In the NIV, it reads:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The word translated treasured is the Greek word syntēreō. In the KJV, the word is translated as kept.

It means both to preserve and to “keep within one's self . . . a thing, lest it be forgotten”(Blue Letter Bible).

Syntēreō is only used in three other places in the New Testament.

We read in Matthew 9:17 and Luke 5:38 that new wine is put in new bottles so “both are preserved.”

Mark 6:20 says “Herod feared John . . . and ‘syntēreō-ed’ him.” The KJV translates the word as observed while the NIV says Herod “was greatly puzzled.”

I picture Mary as being as greatly puzzled by her visit from an angel, by Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy as well as her own, the shepherds, the Magi’s gifts, and Joseph’s dreams as Herod, about thirty years later, was greatly puzzled by his prisoner John.

She pondered these things, wondering what they meant and what the future held for her precious child. She treasured all these moments, hiding them deep into her heart.

In a few weeks, we’ll once again be celebrating Jesus’ birth. As Christmas nears, we’ll be holding onto family traditions or perhaps making new ones. We’ll be creating new memories to be treasured.

Amidst all the celebrating, the worship, the feasting, and the exchanging of gifts, may we pause to treasure the events that Mary treasured and to ponder them in our own hearts.

I wish you a white and snowy Christmas—or a green and sunny one. Just depends on where you live. 😄

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Johnnie Alexander imagines stories while raccoons and foxes occasionally pass by her window. Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, was a CBA bestseller. She also wrote Where She Belongs and When Love Arrives (Misty Willow Series), and her novella, The Healing Promise, is in the Courageous Bride Collection. She lives near Memphis with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees those pesky raccoons whenever he gets the chance. Join Johnnie at www.johnnie-alexander.com to experience the charm of country living, the love of random travel, and the joy of treasured moments.


*Giveaway*

Johnnie is offering a copy of Where Treasure Hides! Join the giveaway below.

All giveaways run until January 2nd and winners will be announced shortly after. Use the image to the left to share on social media and don't forget the hashtag: #SpreadTheChristmasJoy16

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