Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)
TITLE: My Mama's Gift!
By Belinda Hood
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I consider myself a Christmas baby; so does my mama. I was born on a cold, crisp winter day; the 20th of December, just five days before Christmas. My mother recalls the day so very well.
I was her third child; baby three. She had just emigrated from the south in October of that same year, 1953. As my parents trekked to the north, for better housing, jobs and to pursue my father’s dream - my mother was, in essence, carrying precious cargo. She knew that the car ride, of 12 hours, would be difficult and painful. But - on they came in a crowded car of two tots and two other adults.
I can only imagine the cramping of her legs and the poking of little elbows into her stomach and side. Just think - she was leaving her home, parents, friends, church and her physician. She would not have any medical personnel to assist her. Where would she deliver this child?
Back then - the parents did not know the gender of their children prior to delivery. There would always be the element of surprise. The only expectation they had was that the child would be “normal” and healthy .
My parents’ journey from Alabama to Illinois reminded me of Joseph and Mary. Oh no - my mother was not birthing The Immaculate Conception; and my father was not Joseph. But, a baby can come at any given time; even the most inopportune time. She was 7 months pregnant, nervous and anxious. But, like Mary, she trusted God! She knew in her heart that the God she loved and served would guide and direct their every step. She also knew that her baby would be safe.
On December 20, 1953 - she delivered a baby girl; her gift from God. There was not much time to shop or even make decorations. All these festivities would have had to be done in advance. There must have been moments of, ‘Did I get this? Did I do this?’ The hospital stay would be three days; then bed rest. She had to settle those questions in her heart; ‘There’s nothing else that I can do’.
Christmas morning - enter my sisters. They are full of excitement! Now mama must muster all her strength to “share” their excitement, joy and Christmas gifts. Oh how she wanted to go to church to hear the Christmas story; the birth of Jesus. But she could not. My parents had only two months to find a home, care for the children, prepare for a new baby and get ready for Christmas. Whew! There was so much to be done; in so little time. So - she watched her children unravel the few, precious toys that they could afford. She watched them open the home-made stockings filled with candy canes, fruit and a few nuts. There was laughter in her eyes as she watched them try to crack the nuts without a nutcracker; and lick the candy striped canes.
But where’s mama’s gift? Wasn’t there any presents under the tree for her? Didn’t she deserve something also? Then - just for a moment - she remembered Mary with her little baby. Oh - how my mother’s eyes welled up with tears of joy! God had NOT forgotten her. God Himself had given her a Christmas gift. He had wrapped it in pink clothing and blankets. At that moment the little five day old infant let out a sigh. It was as if the baby was awakening to the dawning of a new day, a new beginning. Yes - it was the baby’s first Christmas!
It was then that mama realized that NO ONE could have purchased a gift so eloquent; so precious. As she unwrapped the blanket, touched the soft pink gown and gently rubbed her precious child’s head - her heart was overwhelmed. Her face brought forth the widest smile and her mouth brought forth the loudest shout of -hallelujah! My mother exclaimed, “Thank you Lord for MY Christmas gift - the GREATEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL - THE GIFT OF LIFE”!
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