Read Luke 2:19
What do you treasure? What do you really value in your life?
It might be an expensive gift given to you – like a beautiful and costly piece of clothing. It might be something you took time to save up for and then went out and specially bought – like a guitar in your teenage years. It might be something you inherited – like an old picture or antique piece of furniture.
Or it might be something that’s not worth very much but is of great sentimental value – like a precious album of family photos. Appreciating items like that remind us that value does not always have a price tag on it. It’s treasured if it’s precious.
That means that people are valuable. We know that’s true because of what happens when they’re taken away. The loss of a true ‘loved one’ results in mourning. Mourning is a powerful, painful process of coming to terms with losing someone we treasure. You can often tell how much a person values someone by the depth of the mourning.
My mother said recently that the older she gets, the more she values memories. Treasured memories. Memories she can look back on and ponder with thanksgiving. She wasn’t the first mother to think like that. At the first Advent Mary ‘pondered in her heart’ and considered Jesus and the events surrounding his birth. We know these things were important as we’re told she ‘treasured up all these things… in her heart’ (Lk 2:18). We also know that Mary continued to value her son Jesus and various family memories as he grew up, as Luke later says she continued to ‘treasure all these things in her heart’ (Lk 2:51).
One of the reasons this season of Advent is important is that it’s a time for taking stock, looking at our hearts and considering what’s precious. As you do that, I expect you’ll conclude that possessions are nice to have but rarely are they really treasured. Your life wouldn’t be significantly diminished without them. So what’s left? People and Christ.
People. People are important. So who do you really treasure? Do they know? Have you told them lately that you love them? Advent is a season for recognising such treasure and being thankful.
And Jesus Christ. How precious is he? Is he tagged-on to your life to make it just a little bit better, or he is of such infinite value (like ‘a pearl of great price’ – Mt 13:46) that your life is sold-out to him? Last night I had the privilege of baptising three people who publicly declared how much they valued Jesus Christ, so much so they’re now going to follow him for the rest of their lives! Later I talked with a woman who told me she’d finally realised how loved she was by Christ and how precious he is. She told me she wanted to give her life to him. So we prayed and she’ll be baptised soon. It was a beautiful, moving conversation – one I’ll value for many years.
Those four people last night have found their Advent treasure. Have you?
ACTION: In your Notebook write down the possessions you treasure (of material and sentimental value) and then number them in order of importance, thinking about which you would most want to save in the event of a fire. Are you surprised, in the end, how unimportant possessions are? Now think about people. Who do you value? Make sure you tell them and show them how precious they are this Christmas. Finally, spend some time thinking about Christ. Write down what you treasure about him. If you can, take some time over this because you’ll probably realise there’s more you value about Jesus than your initially thought!
PRAY: Now pray, and give thanks for all in your life that you treasure. Look over the things you’ve written down. In particular begin to worship Jesus for all he is and all he means to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in your heart, making it into a treasure-chest for Christ to dwell.