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The colorful paper that so carefully surrounded each present under the Christmas tree became a mound of chaos that was disposed of into a garbage bag. A few days after opening presents, our lives move on. What seemed so important becomes just a memory. Memories may fade, but what do you treasure this time of year?  

One of the most intriguing Bible texts of the season is from Luke 2. We read about the birth of Jesus and the announcement from a heavenly host of angels to shepherds who then search and find the Christ Child. And then we read in verse 19: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

What did Mary treasure? What did that “pondering” look like and sound like?

A number of years ago, I was privileged to walk alongside a family during the Christmas season as a young wife and mother of five children received word that her earthly battle with cancer was coming to an end. She “pondered” what to do in the days and hours that she still had with her children. She spent one-on-one time with each child and in those precious moments expressed her love and hopes for each of them.

During those days, she also took the jewelry “treasures” that she had collected and began to parcel them out for her children. These material gifts became another form of treasure by a mother’s touch.  

The memories that sustain us and the treasures that last are always framed by relationships. In this season, I will never forget the privilege of coming to the bedside of that young mother who died on Christmas morning, but who treasured her family and faith and built upon that legacy in those last days.

As we put away Christmas decorations and face a new year, we would do well to “ponder” what do we treasure and how will we show that appreciation—every day in the coming year.

The examples of Mary and the young mother I came to know challenge and encourage me. How about you?

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