Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Midwinter Memories {eighteen}

To start at the beginning ...

A donkey brayed from his stall and Ruth stirred from her daydream.  She sat on a bench, leaning against the rough wooden slats behind which several sheep burrowed in the straw.  Bending forward, Ruth plucked a piece of hay from the folds of her cloak and sat silent, rolling the dried grass slowly between her thumb and forefinger.  Raising to her face, she breathed deeply, taking in the comforting scent of the straw.
“I have sat on this bench, in this stable, every year on this night for the past sixty years,” Ruth croaked, her voice catching in her throat.  “Remembering again that night.  The night that changed everything.”  A smile rose on her lips and she looked up at Matthew who stood patiently at her side.  “There was such joy that night.  And so many surprises ... surprise visitors and surprise celebrations.”  She sighed, “Of course, it was also the beginning of much pain and sadness.”
Matthew gently patted his grandmother on her shoulder and waited for her to continue.  “Man can be so cruel.  So much suffering as a result of that wee babe’s birth.”  She dabbed at her eyes with the corner of her shawl.  “But that little boy was the answer to God’s promise to redeem us.  And what a gift He was.  The most memorable birthday gift of my many, many years,” she chuckled.
A gust of wind groaned around the corner of the ancient stable, the wood creaking and complaining in the cold.  She gazed around once more, imagining again the events following the birth of the baby, Jesus.  Shaking her head in disbelief, she marveled again at the wonder of that night.  In her mind’s eye, she saw again the young family huddled together in the hay - the smiles and tears.  She heard again the whispered prayers and she was awash in goosebumps once more, recalling the stories Mary and Joseph shared about angels and dreams and the promise of the Messiah.
“Many villagers scoffed at the news, but if they had been there, like Grandfather and I were, they would have believed as well.  They would have known that God had sent His Son, the Lamb of God. Just as Isaiah promised, he came:  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father ..."

"The Prince of Peace,"  Matthew finished with a smile, looking down at his grandmother tenderly.

"The Savior of the world was born here in this stable.”  Then with a crooked finger, Ruth pointed to a rickety wooden box, overflowing with hay, “And He slept in that manger.” 

1 comment:

  1. I just read this outloud, captured the attention of ALL kids...and seem to have created peace in the living room! Thank you!


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