A while back I was given a book called Living Your Strengths which through a series of questions breaks down your 5 greatest strengths. One of mine is Empathy…yes, this will lead to the part about my favorite Christmas verse, just stick with me. Here is how the book defines Empathy:
You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament—this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings—to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.
You might be thinking how exhausting it would be to feel all these feelings and sharing peoples perspectives, but I actually find so much joy in relating to others and meeting an emotional need.
Taking this into account about me I want to lead you to my favorite verse for Christmas:
Luke 2 :19
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” NIV
“But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” NLT
Because I need to feel, sense and experience what others are feeling, sensing and experiencing I have often wondered what Mary must have been going through from the time she was young and in love then visited by the angel and told she would give birth to the son of God. I love how the author takes a moment to give us a glimpse into the heart of Mary. She was not an unfeeling robot like some weirdo from a cult that never questions or wonders what is going on. There was a stolen moment of time where she, shaking her head in amazement, purposefully tucked these precious things away in her heart. Saving them deep inside her to reflect on time after time all through her life.
The reason this is so sweet and so very special to me is because I have so many moments with Jesus that I have tucked away deep in my heart. Times of sorrow, times of deep questions and pure joy. Times of quiet walks on a English countryside, or a picnic bench surrounded by Aspen. Times of incredible friendship, or unmerited love. The 3 minutes alone, in my wedding dress staring at the sunset, before my dad came to walk me down the aisle to my future husband. All of these poignant times are special because they are only between Jesus and I.
All these moments I have treasured in my heart and think about them often, just like Mary.