The other day I stopped by my mother’s house to check on some things, and she asked me go through some stored photo albums (do people use those anymore?) and pull out a couple of albums of old Christmas photos.  I didn’t have a lot of time to go through them like I will later on, but I did take a few moments to flip through several pages.  Talk about memories!  From childhood Christmases to foreign field Christmases in Mexico, she has a ton of pictures.  Memories.  They are an integral part of Christmas.  Some Christmas memories are wonderful.  Like the “money tree” my dad’s first church gave us one year, my first lesson on God’s provision.  And some are painful.  Like those first holidays after my dad, and later on, after my brother passed away.  Memories.  They’re there.  No getting away from them.   I wonder about Mary’s memories of that first Christmas.  Luke 2:19 mentions that she “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  “Kept” in that verse literally means that she preserved those events.  A mental baby book, if you will.  The whirlwind of the announcement, the pregnancy, the trip to Bethlehem, the labor and delivery, the shepherds, and the exhaustion that came with it all.  And then I wonder; did those Christmas memories flood through her mind as she looked up and saw her Son on that cross?  Did she remember the first time she felt Him kick in the womb?  His first cry as she laid him in the manger?  His first words?  Him toddling around “helping” in Joseph’s carpenter’s shop?  That time He was “lost” in the temple?  As she gazed on her crucified Son, battered and bruised beyond recognition, did she remember the announcing angel’s words, “thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins”?  I don’t know if Mary remembered and thought about all that on that day, but I know we should.  As your memories of Christmas sift over your heart this week, keep in mind the truth of who Mary’s Son was and what He was to mean to the world.  Emmanuel – God with us.  A Savior.  Christ the Lord.  The One worthy of the angels’ praise, the shepherds’ proclamation, and the wise men’s presents.  We would do well this Christmas to do as Mary did.  Ponder the Babe lying in a manger.  He can bring peace to the frazzled mind.  He can heal the hurting heart.  He can bring some order to the chaos that life can create.  He can build a wall of faith against any doubt that may be creeping in.  He can forgive your sins.  Be sure to make Him the centerpiece of your Christmas memories this year!