I think that it’s a common assumption that women are sentimental. There are certainly exceptions to this. For example, when my husband proposed, he cried. I didn’t; well, I did cry later because I felt guilty for not crying during the actual event. That shows some sentimentality though doesn’t it? I was sensitive enough to the moment to know it’s weight and beauty should incite tears. In general though, we’re the ones that carry on traditions, that remember the important dates, that are moved to tears or laughter by life.
I have grown far more sentimental as I’ve gotten a little older. Little moments stand out to me like treasures, like diamonds in the rough of the ordinary. Things like my kids playing well with each other or my closest friends sending me a text just to see how I’m doing. Things like my husband buying me a knew extra long phone charging cable because he noticed that I was pulling the extension chord out from behind the bed and propping it up MacGyver style so that I could look at my phone in bed. There are little moments that are painfully beautiful to me because they reveal the heart of the people I love, because they reveal that God loves me through them.
There are the big moments, too. The holidays and birthdays and celebrations and goodbyes that make me sentimental. This time of the year is full of them. Like a Christmas tree drooping with ornaments. All of the moments, big or small, add up to something for me though. I look at them and I see treasure.
I’m not the first woman to do this. Mary, the mother of Jesus did it too. The Christmas story is full of moments like I’ve described. The ordinary and the majestic, the mundane and the miraculous all collided on that trip to Bethlehem. Luke 2 describes the visit that the shepherds made to see the baby in a manger, the one that would save the world.
“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2: 16-19 NIV
Mary took all of those beautiful moments and saw them as treasure. Not treasure to be hoarded but to be taken out often and pondered, looked at, marveled at.
Here’s the thing about treasure. When you have it, you are protected from want, from hunger, from danger, from deficiency. Treasure means that you have something to throw back at life when it throws you curve balls. It’s insurance against the hard times.
It’s no coincidence that Mary’s memories of her son’s birth are referred to as treasure. I think that she treasured them because the Lord knew that later on, down the road that ended with Calvary she might need a little something. A little reassurance of God’s power and goodness — a little reminder of His plan. Maybe one of those times that she pondered her treasures full of pictures of heavenly hosts singing and perfect strangers declaring the coming of the newborn king was when her perfect son was hanging on a cross. Maybe it was when he was buried in a tomb, separated from her by stone and death. Maybe it was when He arose, when he ascended into Heaven, when His disciples preached His name.
Kaitlin Wernet says this in She Reads Truth’s “Women In The Word New Testament” study,
“Mary, mother of Jesus and servant of the Lord-clad in maternal instincts and love for her son-was the only one present at both Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. Do I think “treasuring it all” meant passively standing by? Oh no, friends. I believe Mary was busy fiercely clinging to the treasured promises of God.”
Her treasure saw her through the rainy days and the sunshine. It carried her through want and doubt and hardship into the promise.
So back to us. The women that came after Mary, the ones that see the beautiful in the ordinary, the hand of God, the touch of Heaven in our everyday lives. Back to the sentimental girls that feel that tug on our heart, the door of the treasure chest opening so those moments that glow with the goodness of God can be dropped in like gold coins. We are building up our stash, we are treasuring it all.
Why? So that we can ponder it often. So that we can remind ourselves of the goodness of God, of His very true promises, of His plan that is sometimes mysterious. Of His hands that are always brimming with love.
We aren’t just sentimental, we are the treasurers of this life. We are the people who see the diamond glimmering in the rock and say, “Yes! There is a glimpse of the extraordinary, the beauty of our God.” We, women, are the people that keep that treasure safe so that when we or our people need it, we can pull out a golden memory that speaks who God is and say, “He was then and He still will be!”
This Christmas season, look for the moments to treasure. Look for the things that show you how God provides, how He loves, how He moves in your life and then tuck them away in your heart. Guard them there like the treasure that they are so that they can be deposits in your faith, insurance against doubt and fear later on. Ponder them often and remind your family and friends of them. Show your treasure off so that it can invest in the hearts of others.
Let your heart open up to all the feelings that move upon it, let yourself be sentimental because through that softness, treasure is stored up; treasure that reminds us of the goodness of God.