Her children sensed how much this Christmas meant to their mom. They conspired with their dad to make it all she imagined it could be. They rented a mountain cabin near a ski resort; there would be room enough for the grandchildren and great grandchildren, and plenty of activities to keep them all busy and happy.
Grandma insisted on bringing all the fixings for the Christmas dinner; it would be a chance to cook and bake to her heart’s content, maybe for the last time, all the family favorites she had prepared through the years. The gifts would be splurged on the little ones; the adults’ joy would be in watching the kids excitedly open their packages.
The brothers’ project was to bring in the perfect tree; the wives would organize the kids for the decorating party. The smallest one would have the honor of being hoisted on Grandpa’s shoulders to put the beautiful angel on the treetop.
A beatific smile graced Grandma’s face from the first moment she entered the rustic cabin. “Oh, it’s everything I dreamed it would be,” she exclaimed. The drifting snowflakes silently piled higher and deeper as the afternoon approached sundown.
This year, Christmas Eve had a special glow that the entire family sensed. Following the meal served from the buffet, the fireplace became center stage. Gathering around this warm fire was a special treat in itself. The strains of Christmas carols melted into the periphery of the family circle. Even the toddlers quieted with expectancy. What would happen next?
All eyes focused on Grandma as her hushed voice began reading the story of the Babe in the Manger, the blessed Christ Child. Even those who had heard the story many times before, became transfixed by the spirit in the matriarch’s voice; hearing it anew through the children’s ears.
When phosphorescent coals were all that remained on the grate, sleepy young ones were carefully scooped up and placed in warm sleeping bags.
The husky turkey was already prepared for through-the-night baking; other preparations filled the refrigerator. The daughter and daughters-in-law each had morning kitchen duty to prepare their own specialties. The whole family looked forward to a bright snowy Christmas Day.
By midnight, when no more memories could be dredged up from the past, the cozy comfort which had embraced the family, emptied and darkened.
“You go on up to bed, Honey, I just want to sit here and reflect for a few more minutes,” whispered Grandma. Hours later, Grandpa tiptoed down the stairs to see what happened to Grandma. He kissed her forehead, covered her with a quilt and left the deep sleeper undisturbed.
When the light of dawn lit the children’s bedroom windows, the air became electrified with excitement. Snow had fallen heavily through the night, yet the sunrise promised a glorious day. The darting to and fro, gleeful giggling, and squirmy wiggling followed the flurry of ripping into the presents. The kids needed snowsuits on to test their new sleds in the brisk mountain air. After dinner was heartily consumed and kids and adults alike were content and drowsy, Grandma took her privileged place in the rocking chair by the fire.
Again, all ears were waiting to hear Grandma‘s soothing voice.
“I was in heaven last night,” she began. With a far away look she continued, “Oh, how I want to live forever in that wonderful place, and have every one of you there with me.” Her eyes glittered as she winked with delight!
“I saw a pure river of life, clear as crystal; there was no night there, because the Lord Himself was the light.” All watched her with rapt attention.
She continued, “God wiped away all our tears, saying, ‘There shall be no more death, or sorrow or crying, or any more pain.’ I heard the voice of the Spirit say, “Let him that hears, come. Let him that is thirsty, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely...”
Her chair stopped rocking in the profound silence. Grandma’s eyelids closed ...a paper fell from her Bible; her eldest son picked it up and read, “Eternal life is a free gift paid for by God’s only Son. Open your heart to His gift to you.”
Suddenly, Grandma jerked with a startled snort; laughter erupted, replacing the fear she had just passed away! It was as if she had truly journeyed Home for Christmas and beckoned them to follow someday...but, Grandma and her legacy were here to stay!
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