It was very quiet in the room as I read from the Bible the story of how Jesus was born. The only electric lighting in the room was from a few lamps scattered around the room, including the low table lamp sitting next to the rocking chair. There was a fire in the old stone fireplace, and it cast a warm glow in the room. We were all together, and even though I knew there would be no gifts in the morning, I was reading about the most precious gift ever given, and was happy.
When I finished, Ma said, "Who would like to share something they are thankful for this Christmas?"
We all looked at one another, waiting for the others to speak. Finally, Grandda looked at Grandma and said, "I'm thankful for finally knowing what it is like to really belong to Jesus; also for having you all here and getting to know you. I'm thankful for the many years of having Martha Jane as my wife." He took her hand in his and kissed her on the cheek.
Ma said, "I'm thankful for four children who love me and each other. I'm thankful that we are all together."
I looked expectantly at Rosie, who had tears rolling down her cheeks, but she simply shook her head and wiped her eyes. I knew she was feeling the love, but also that she was a stubborn girl about showing her feelings.
Les spoke up and said he was glad we were together, too.
Marie just nodded her head.
My heart was so very full at that time, that I could hardly speak as well. I said, "I'm glad Jesus is in my heart and I can understand more about what Christmas really means."
Then we all looked at Grandma, waiting, hoping to hear her say something positive. She simply shook her head no, and said she would like to go back to bed. My heart ached for her in her misery. It would have been easy to say 'good enough, you miserable old witch,' but it wasn't in me to condemn her. She was already condemned until she asked God's forgiveness and accepted Jesus as Savior. I simply felt sorry for her.
I walked over and went with Grandda as he gently lifted her to carry her back to bed. Going into the bedroom with them, I wanted to try one more time to speak with her.
Sitting in the chair beside her bed, I watched Grandda cover her gently and ask if she wanted any water. She nodded, and he poured a spoon full of medicine from the ever present medicine bottle near her bed, then held her up so she could drink the water.
I took her hand and she looked at me as though to say, "You again? Can't you just leave me alone?"
"Grandma, could we just sit here and pray for you?"
"It won't do me any good. You keep harping on me becoming a Christian. I'm telling you, I am already. You are wasting your time."
"Well, how about if we pray any way? It can't hurt anything, can it? I wanted to ask you once again, are you ready to meet Jesus face to face? Can you feel good about how you have lived your life?"
"Please just leave me alone. Go!"
I looked at Grandda and he gazed back at me with tears in his eyes, and shooed his hands at me to let me know it was better if I left. I nodded and he continued sitting beside her bed with his head bowed. I knew then that he was praying for his wife. I had done all I could do, but I would be praying before I went to sleep.
Tomorrow was Christmas morning. (To be continued)