Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Time passed quickly, it seemed. Childhood memories of what others had done for me at Christmas soon transitioned into adult memories of investing in others. No longer was I being transported to a family gathering by my parents. Now I was bringing a guest with me to my parent’s home.
After an incredible Christmas Eve dinner prepared by my mother, we gathered in the small living room of the parsonage in Kulm, North Dakota. Dining room chairs filled spaces between living room furniture so everyone could sit. I sat on the couch next to my guest.
Near us, in one of the easy chairs, was my dad’s mother, Grandma Marian. She struggled a little to sit down because the pull-cord on her artificial leg had not released the knee joint so it wouldn’t bend. After a couple of tries it released and she flopped back into the chair and became comfortable.
As the gifts were distributed, a small box was given to my guest, and the puzzled look on my face was obvious. I was about to be surprised and taught a lesson of acceptance and love.
As Denise opened the present, I figured out it was from my grandma. It wasn’t the present that pointed the finger at her. The look on Grandma’s face gave it away. She was smiling joyously as she watched the ribbon and wrapping paper fall to the floor.
Grandma lived in our house with us. In fact, she had taken over my small bedroom next to the kitchen because she wasn’t able to do stairs with her prosthesis. She had been observing my behavior and the amount of time I was spending at a certain girl’s home. She had concluded that this guest would now be considered family. But when did she know?
The gift revealed an important timeline. The gift came from a store that was located fifty-five miles away in the nearest large city. She had asked my parents to buy the gift earlier in the month when they were on one of their weekly shopping trips to Jamestown.
What makes this so important is that three days before our Christmas Eve family gathering, my guest had received a lifetime gift from me. It was my heart. On her ring finger she wore a reminder of the gift. We were going to be a family.
Grandma knew the outcome of my focus on Denise before she did. Grandma not only saw what was happening, but she acted on it. She gave a gift of love and acceptance before the actual present was ever opened. Grandma saw the family growing. My Grandma taught me that where the love of Jesus lives, there are no limits to how many people can share it.