On those Christmases, so long ago, the children went to Grandma and Grandpa’s to laugh and to play. From their homes, they brought small toys and stocking-candy. Their parents,uncles, and aunts kept stealing the candy away, but before long some more cousins would arrive and sneak in new items to share.
Many a present under the tree was jostled and poked. The mystery—whose could it be? The older kids told when the little ones begged, but the adults—they merely shrugged, grinned, and shook their heads.
The air was filled with the smells of the season. Pies and platters of cookies were carefully placed out of sight; but the aroma of gingerbread, cinnamon, and nutmeg mingled pleasantly with the feast being prepared. Grandma and the aunts all bustled around the kitchen, fixing the turkey and dressing, mashed and sweet potatoes—way too much food to eat in just one sitting! Many a child was shooed out the kitchen door, only to pop back in, twenty seconds later—through the other door.
Weary Mommas and Poppas would sit for awhile, grabbing a moment’s rest. They’d been up since dawn—eager children pulling them from their beds.
There was the fascinating door of the back bedroom; no kids could enter, only adults. There was always something left to be wrapped, and kids lingered in the hallway—simply hoping for a glimpse.
Hardly a bite of breakfast, did the kids have; so the veggie tray provided food which easily traveled, grasped in little hands. Good thing it was there because the stocking sweets—definitely kept them on their feet.
At long last—it felt like hours! The time to open presents was near, but one last thing was left to be done. Every child, adult too, must sit and listen to Grandpa—just for a while. Hard it was, there was much to distract. The tree, it glimmered and twinkled with lights. Even the angel, sitting on the highest bow, seemed to call their attention with her sparkle and glow. And the presents—there were so many. It was hard to wait and see for oneself, even though the adults promised that there were plenty.
But Grandpa was fun, Grandma too. So they sat and listened albeit—not without a wiggle or two. Grandpa opened the book and turned to Luke. He read them a story about shepherds and sheep, a mighty host of angels, and wise men who traveled from afar—following a star! The children they paused and thought for a minute—of lambs and angels and faraway lands…and a baby wrapped in a blanket. They knew that the babe Jesus was the start of it all—so much excitement for one little baby to create! A choir of angels, at least three kings, and some lowly shepherds, all came to bend a knee!
When Grandpa was done, the book was closed. After a few quick words and maybe a prayer, with Grandpa’s blessing—it was finally the time! The little bodies jumped and twirled in glee. One by one, gifts were given. Bright paper and ribbons—they flew everywhere!
Now many years have passed, and yet I remember. Last Christmas was a bit of surprise, when once again adults and kids, now-turned-adults, kindly asked “Grandpa” to take a chair. And for each of you then-children, even those who could not be there, my prayer is—to that book you will look. For I know—your answers—you will find them there.