Ezra3-11bAnd they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  Ezra 3:11When God brings about something so joyous and wonderful in our lives, all we can say is thank you!  A song of praise wells up in our hearts and spills into the air.  Tears of joy fill our eyes.  This is the mountain top of glory.How do these verses tie together?  It came to me that when that mountain top is reached, there is nowhere to go but up.  And we lift our praises high each day.  What comes the day after we praise Him?Mary learned and the shepherds learned.  Mary spent nine months waiting for the birth of Jesus.  She didn’t have to send out Facebook pictures or announcements of the birth.  The Angels of Heaven took care of that.  What came after?  She pondered in her heart in the afterglow of praise.  When all was quiet, she pondered.  How can this be?  What will be?  What will I do next.  She pondered that night and I know she pondered when her baby boy was crucified.  She pondered when her baby boy rose from the dead and was taken from arms and her sight  into the heavens.  And the shepherds went back to their flocks.  They were invited to the birth by Angels.  They saw the baby boy and they returned – praising God.  Did they stop after a week?  No, they continued to praise God.This is how loving Jesus and praising Him changes us.  There is an afterglow of love and praise that continues a lifetime.  We learn that God is love, and He cares about each one of us.  He wants us to love His Son and accept him as our Savior.  And we join Mary in pondering the greatness, the majesty, the joy of Jesus.  Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, Peace, Good will to men!But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:19-20.