Grandmother’s hands were chapped and worn, yellow calluses stained the palms of her hands and her fingers were thorny around the edges; but when they touched my naked skin as she bathed me in childhood, they felt like the tenderest loving hands in the world.
As I remember her, I reflect on Col. 3:12 (NIV) “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”.
How gentle and patient she was with me; as she bathed me she would tell me stories of when she was a little girl riding with her father to San Francisco to deliver milk to the creamery in a horse drawn buggy. She said she was her Father’s favorite. I can just imagine how Jesus favors all of his children as we run into his loving arms. His hands once stained with the blood of our salvation, the holes in his palms visible still. His thorny crown replaced with a gleaming golden crown bejeweled with all of the colors of the rainbow.
Each day my Grandmother toiled side by side with my Grandfather on the dairy. Sweet baby calves ran eagerly up to her hands nuzzling them and pushing them aside in order to get their heads into the bucket of calf meal and warm milk that she prepared for them.
Jesus came to prepare the way for us, dying on the cross in atonement for our sins; he died in our place to give us everlasting life. John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
In the early morning hours before the sun rose and the rooster crowed, I watched Grandmother’s hands busily making Grandfather’s fried eggs, the yolks a yellow puddle sputtering against the whites as they sizzled in her cast iron skillet.
I followed Grandmother out into the yard as she went about her morning chores, gathering eggs from the barn, the straw golden yellow, crunching under our feet as we walked. The mother hens sat contently on their nests, used to Grandmother as she gently nudged them aside to gather an egg or two for breakfast the next day. She would leave at least one so that the brooding hen would continue to sit on her nest and soon a baby chick would poke its way out into the bright new day.
Jesus gathers us to him like the mother hens gather their chicks keeping us warm and protected.
Grandmother’s hands were strong and determined but she would fold them softly and reverently in prayer at bedtime and we would recite the Lord’s prayer together:
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil—amen
After we said our prayers, she would kiss me softly on the cheek and whisper, “sweet dreams.” I would snuggle down in the soft, warm quilt and drift off to a heavenly sleep.
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