I find that much of my time is spent as a watchman. I watch children, the news, social media. I watch for the shortest line at the grocery store, for when the stoplight will turn green, for how many minutes are left before dinner, before bath, before BEDTIME!

My eyes stretch large, squint small. I push glasses up the bridge of my nose or blink contacts into clarity. This is my job, I think. To watch, to perceive, to discern.

To be articulate with my mental presence.

I don’t wear a watch, but I do carry a phone. This device acts as a watchman’s telescope, but it can also be an Achilles Heel.

Sometimes my phone captures crucial evidence of my work: photos of my family, texts that hoist relationships into the buoyancy of everyday life, the verse of the day, a daily devotional, and weather conditions that might affect my hair.

But it can also distract. And each time it feels accidental, like I fell through a trap door in my kitchen, in my living room, at the playground. I accidentally stare at useless images, get too wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. I spend minutes reading Instagram captions while eggs are burning black and my child is taking off her own diaper. In those moments I wonder if someone has turned off the gravity that should be anchoring my brain.

Often, I’m a watchman with unfocused eyes, looking at things without weighing them, spectating without pondering. Eyes awake, brain asleep. Passive.

This past Christmas I read through the scriptural accounts of Jesus’ arrival, but I kept getting stuck on passages of how Mary responded to the miracles she witnessed.

“Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often” {Luke 2:19}

Other translations say she stored up observations like treasures. She pondered them as a watchman.

Her vigilance was warranted, I suppose. She was initially confronted by an angel she wasn’t looking for, conferred favor she didn’t asked for, and then delivered a child that would save the whole world.

Interruptions have a way of startling us awake don’t they?

These mismatched details must have embedded a curiosity in her spirit, created a filter for her surveillance.

And let’s be honest. The details Mary witnessed were pretty weird. An immaculate conception. Angel sightings. Her son running away to, um, church. Later, a human man turning water into wine. But Mary was a watchman with clarified vision. These irregularities were exactly what she was looking for — evidence of the promise spoken to her by the Lord.

There was proof everywhere, perhaps because Mary was one of the few looking. Jesus was the actual Son of God.

What would happen if we were present and expectant as Mary was?

What if we hinged each day on the expectation that God is in our midst?

I expect that would shake us of some passivity. I expect it would show us how to redirect our eyes. I wonder if this wasn’t what Jesus meant when He encouraged us to abide in Him, to sink into the hope that was promised and notice it now as Kingdom Come. I wonder if abiding isn’t just another word for keeping the watch, for focused looking.

Now that Christmas is done, perhaps this is the gift we carry out of the holidays. The gift of presence, of holy anticipation.

Because surely in the mundane — in the stoplights and newsfeeds and dirty dishes — there is light and hope and peace to be observed, fingerprints of Emmanuel that came then and is still here with us now.

We are watch(wo)men who know what we’re looking for.

Related: Carry your things in this delightful tote bag. It’s a way to share your faith, and it’s a beautiful reminder to trust God in everything!

  • Anna Smit

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Bekah. This especially: “What would happen if we were present and expectant as Mary was? What if we hinged each day on the expectation that God is in our midst?” I’ve been pondering on the same thing these past few days, as I’ve looked at the Biblical call into active (reverent, responsive) silence, so that we hear His “gentle and quiet whisper” (see the story of Elijah) and the door knocking. I’ve realized I need to carve out the silence, or the being the watchwoman as you so aptly describe it. And it’s also a silence within us that allows us to be present amongst those we love…just as you point out in your post.

    • http://bekahdifelice.com/ Bekah DiFelice

      What a beautiful connection to “reverent, responsive silence.” Such true and inspiring words. “It’s a silence within us that allows us to be present amongst those we love.” Amen and amen. May we all carve out time to cultivate such a posture.

  • http://www.christanperona.com Christan Perona

    “What if we hinged each day on the expectation that God is in our midst?” I want to live like that, but I too, find myself distracted. I look, but don’t see. Watch, but don’t perceive. Thank you for this wake-up call at the start of a new year.

    • http://bekahdifelice.com/ Bekah DiFelice

      Christan, I feel like the queen of distraction most days. “I look, but I don’t see.” Yes, me too! Praying for clearer eyes—as I drink my coffee (which also helps with the whole wake up thing). :)

      • http://www.christanperona.com Christan Perona

        Yes, coffee does help (if we’re all honest). LOL

  • http://poprockseyedrops.com Dianne G

    Beautiful and perfectly timed words. Thank you.

  • http://lovellegerthmyers.com/ Lovelle Gerth- Myers

    This was so good! It was such a needed reminder. I need to focus a little more on whats important. Only then can my ears truly be open to God’s little whispers and guidance. Thank you for this wonderful message.
    ~ Lovelle from (in)courage

  • Rachel B

    Love this revelation!!!

  • Katie Landers

    I love this! Thank you for helping us think about Mary after Christmas. Maybe Mary was one of the few really looking. We may not know for certain but I do know I want to be like Mary–one that is really looking for Jesus in the every day. Thank you for your words!

  • Beth Williams

    This past Christmas I was drawn into thinking about Mary and her ponderings. How she quickly said yes to a life changing situation. I want to have that kind of thought process. Constantly thinking about God being with me and being ever watchful of what I do and say knowing he is right there with me!
    Blessings :)