“You Got Lefse?”

December 3rd 2014

by Mary Ann Herzan


It was Christmas Eve. I had been in the hospital since November 11 recovering from the impact with an intoxicateddriver going between eighty-five and ninety miles per hour. Along with other multiple injuries, I had over sixty-fivefractures in my legs which required me to be in traction for an extended period of time.


Throughout the day I had received visits from friends and family. They enjoyed bringing me samples of their homemade Christmas treats. (Why they thought I would prefer these to hospital food, I cannot imagine!) One dear friend had been busy that morning making *lefse and had carefully buttered, sugared, and rolled the best ones for me. He brought enough to last for several days, and so it was that my bedside stand came to hold a “stash” of lefse.


My quiet Christmas Eve was suddenly interrupted. The lights came on and hospital personnel were busy stirring about the room. They were bringing someone to the empty bed beside me and I could see that she was an elderly woman. She had come up from the recovery room following hip surgery. She had been in her kitchen preparing for Christmas Eve with her family when she had fallen and broken her hip.



After she was settled in, the lights were turned off and the room was again wrapped in a gentle, veiled peace. I heard low moans coming from her bed and prayed that her pain would subside until I heard her actual words. I could hardly believe it; she was quietly crying, “Oh my lefse. Oh my lefse.”


Straining to move my upper body as close as I could, I asked, “Do you want some lefse?” She replied in a thick Norwegian accent, “You got lefse?”  “Yes,” I said as I reached into my stash and took out one of the rolled treats. I reached across the space between our beds as far as I was able and she reached back. There was just enough room to pass the treasure from my fingers to hers. I have often thought how it is like that for us with the Lord. His arm is always extended toward us, waiting for us to reach and receive what He has; the space is never too wide.


Christmas morning came and along with it the typical morning busyness of a hospital room. My new roommate seemed to be dozing quietly in the midst of the bustleuntil her family entered the room. Suddenly, with the excitement of a child, she spoke out; “I had lefse last night!” Her family looked at her with puzzled faces that seemed to say, “Poor grandma.” They asked her, “Goodness, wherever did you get lefse?” She turned and pointed to me hanging in my bed like a discarded puppet in the midst of traction devices and said, “She got it for me!” As they brought me into their conversation I was able to learn that she had been making lefse when she had fallen in her kitchen. I also learned that in all her years, which were over eighty, she had never had a Christmas Eve without lefse!


Our encounter filled my Christmas meditations for many days that year and each year since. For me it was a beautiful parable of the true Christmas story. It touched my heart to see how the Lord prepared ahead of time to bless this gentle woman. He loved her so much that before she was even born He came into our world and died on a cruel cross to prepare a way for her to our Father. He loved her so intimately and personally that He also prepared a way for her to have lefse on that Christmas Eve.


Do you know this personal and intimate love of your Savior? What is your need or fear? Can you believe that His love for you is so intense that He has already been preparing even the smallest details of fulfilling that need—for no other reason than because He loves you? My prayer for you this Christmas is that you could say, “Yes, I know how much He loves me.”


(Mary Ann Herzan is director of David’s Heart, a teaching and mentoring ministry of East Immanuel Lutheran Church. She has shared the truth and depth of God’s love for us in Jesus for over 35 years, and she loves to see people come into their full inheritance as children of our Heavenly Father!)


*Editor’s Note: Lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread which some call the eighth wonder of the world.

2 Responses to ““You Got Lefse?””

  1. Joani Mins

    Mary Ann what a delightful story of how God can even use lefse to bring joy and comfort! Can I copy this and send it out with my Christmas letter? My family is Scandinavian and would really relate to what you have written.


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