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Well, it’s here. Christmas has come again. If you are like me, it’s a sprint to the finish. There are gifts to wrap, clothes to wash, goodies to bake, lists to check off, cars to load, and outfits to coordinate. The frantic bustle around my home leads me through trails of glitter and paper, and flour and sticky floors. Sometimes my frown of concentration makes my head ache, my skin breaks out, and my clothes are covered in the evidence of my labors. I even catch myself noticing that my heart occasionally skips a beat as I remember to do something I had forgotten. Its really not that bad, it’s the usual routine I take in stride. All the hectic preparations are soon forgotten as we dig into the memories of this most precious holiday.

Last Sunday, I lit the advent candle at church and read about the symbol of the candle of love. As I sat down, and made myself comfortable for what would undoubtedly be another Christmas sermon from the book of Luke, I relaxed and tuned in. Pastor Creig began telling the timeless story, one known by heart, and I followed along. One verse always sticks in my mind, and as I sit with my feet up tonight, after a long day in my kitchen, it plays over and over.

The Angel appeared to Mary, to tell her that she would conceive a son. He would be Jesus, the savior of the world. After the Angel left her, Luke 2: 19 says: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart”.

For one moment, I ask you to consider closing your eyes, and envision this scene. A young girl, just a teen, has had an angel visit her with the most remarkable news. And now, Mary sits alone in a room “pondering” this news. 

Ladies, it’s what we do…isn’t it? In the still of the night, when we can’t sleep. It’s at the wheel in our car as we wait at a light. As we fold loads of laundry, or stir up a meal, or sit on the sidelines at a ball game, or hold our babies in our arms, or sip morning coffee….we ponder. I often think that if my husband could read my mind, and the rapid “pondering” of subjects, he would call me crazy. In the time that it takes to breathe a single breath, we have pondered through a list a mile long. Some escalate it to worry, or concern, but many times its simply “thinking” on a long list of the past, present, and future.

I think about Mary pondering the news. I think about how she is just the same as we are. How an entire lifetime of thoughts had to race through her mind in an instant, yet, she sat quietly, perhaps cradling her womb, staring at the sky above, and pondered it all.

While there are many things we can admire about Mary, this time of year, I think of quiet demeanor and grace. What would she say about the “fuss” we make about Christmas? I have to believe she would appreciate the honor we bestow in recognizing Jesus’ birth…but what about all the rest? 

My hope is that we women can find our “inner peace” that Mary held. That we can fully appreciate, enjoy, and ponder the true meaning of Christmas, while quieting our hearts so that we can truly soak it all in. One way I do this, is to focus on the pieces of Christmas that have special and sentimental meaning. I asked friends if they had special Christmas treasures that mean a great deal, and would like to share them with you. Not always fancy or frilly, but they each have special meaning. Meaning that transcends generations, upholds its value in hard times, and binds family together. 

Take a moment to enjoy the meaning of each, and find that quiet place where you can ponder the meaning of this season. Merry Christmas.

Inger Sherbeck’s painted and jeweled goose egg ornament from 1975.

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Lisa Vraspir’s Nativity. It was used by her family church, and given to her when the church closed. It is most precious to her.

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Vickie Shaver’s homemade Christmas nativity. It was made by her grandparents 59 years ago, and given to her.

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Maggie Peterson and her “Christmas Countown”. It was made by her Grandma “Pete”  approx 35 years ago.Christmas countdown

 ***Featured image is my most treasured ornament. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Crystal Schweiger traveled to the Holy land in 1985, and purchased this ornament for me. It was made in Bethlehem. 

Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children's book in 2011 titled "An Apple for Dapple" and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.

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