Memories.  They’re a big part of the Christmas season.  Each year, even though I enjoy the present holiday, the walk through Christmastime always includes a journey down memory lane.  Wonderful memories of my childhood and the love I felt from parents who, even with very limited resources, made Christmas special.  Memories of our first Christmas as a married couple and the tree that refused to stand until I actually secured it with almost-invisible fishing line.  Precious memories of our children at Christmas.  Decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies, opening their simple gifts for me and loving every one of them.  Great memories that would require way more space than I have here.  And there are other memories, the painful ones that linger, some even today.  Times when the burdens of life tried to suck every bit of Christmas joy from the room.  Especially the memories of Christmases when loved ones were no longer there.  The first ones without them are the worst, but they are still missed greatly each year.  Yes, I would say it’s impossible to celebrate Christmas without memories.  And there’s a verse in the Christmas story that talks about that.  Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  That word “kept” gives the idea of preserving or continuing to keep.  In other words, Mary always remembered the events of that first Christmas.  I certainly can’t say for sure, but perhaps she even shared those memories with Luke as he wrote his gospel.  This year, as you and I sort through our Christmas memories, both the joyful and painful ones, let us be sure to remember the most important one.  The one that Mary “pondered.”  The one that reminds us Who came and why He came.  The one that shows God’s love in sending His Son.  The one that filled the sky with angelic shouts of “Glory!”  The one that evoked the excited praise of shepherds and humble worship of wise men.  The one that brought the Lamb of God to take away our sin.  This Christmas memory surpasses all others.  This memory will make your Christmas a truly merry Christmas.