Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joy to the World

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you, is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." ~Luke 2: 10 & 11

It's the Monday before Christmas and the babies are arriving at daycare. They're dressed in adorable Christmas outfits,  coincidentally with snowmen on each of them. They look adorable. I have a bag packed with sippy cups, snacks, diapers and wipes. Also, a few special toys that they seldom see. Its a trick I learned when my own children were small. Keep a few unfamiliar toys for "emergency situations" when you need children to behave.

I make the phone call and confirm that yes, we are infact still welcome. We pile into the car, buckle up and sing Christmas songs like Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman along the way. We also go over the rules, as best you can with a 2 1/2 year old and a 13 month old anyway. "Be polite, smile, say Merry Christmas" I urge.....I wonder am I talking to them or myself?

We're off to the nursing home to visit my  83 year old grandmother. I adore my grandmother. During the 50s and 60s she raised four children on her own. Not an easy thing to do during any era but particularly during those years. She was poor but hardworking, firm with her children but she loved them, different from her peers but graceful just the same. I have always admired my grandmother, considering her to be a very strong, brave, independent woman. Its difficult to see her now in a nursing home relying on others for her care.

I admittedly don't visit often. Sad but true. Life is busy and I don't make time. But because its Christmas I am going to. I'm bringing the daycare babies along with me, hoping that they will bring a ray of sunshine into her life. I assume her life is gloomy and gray.

As we enter the building, we are greeted by unfamiliar yet smiling faces. An older gentlemen leans against the wall for support and smiles at us. Just the site of two toddlers toddling makes  pleases him. As we pass by doorway after doorway, we see patients in various states of need. Some are bedridden, some are in wheelchairs, some walking. All of them are smiling. Many of them say "Your grandmother is so excited your coming".

As we enter Memere's room, I prepare myself for what I might see.  Instead,  I am greeted with a grin from ear to ear. She startles and gasps when she realizes not only have I brought along the daycare but my oldest daughter, home from college. She is absolutely,  noticeably,  THRILLED. Her room is decorated with Christmas cards, a tree and photos of her family. When she embraces me I feel  her happiness in her touch.

Over the course of the next hour and half, we open gifts, reminisce over pictures and stories and hug, often. After a while, the babies start to get antsy and I suggest we go for a walk. To my surprise the 2 year old climbs right up  into my grandmothers lap as though she's the Grand Marshall in a parade. As I push Mem down the hallways we are introduced to her friends, wish them Merry Christmas and show off the babies. Every single person in that home, ooooh'd and aahhhhh'd over those babies. Every single person beamed with happiness. And those babies ate it up!!!!! I mean they PUT ON A SHOW :)

My grandmother was in her glory....excited to show us all around the place, the dining hall, the physical therapy room, the TV gathering area. I'll be honest, it surprised me. I expected this visit to be sort of depressing. Instead, it warmed my heart. Memere is genuinely happy. Her friends are sweet and kind, welcoming and loving. The babies automatically feel a connection with these elderly folk and the elderly, well, the only word that comes to mind it JOY. I can see it on their faces. I can hear it in their voices, its the sparkle in those old weary eyes. JOY just at the sight of seeing a child's face.

As we said our goodbyes, passed out one more hug and two more kisses, I realized that this visit wasn't just good for  my grandmother and  the residents at the nursing home. This visit brought ME a sense of peace, a sense of understanding, a sense of Christmas spirit. THIS is what its about, its about loving people, even people you don't know. Loving people, some of whom can't speak. Loving people, so sick they can't open their eyes. Loving them with a hug or a word or a smile. Love is how we can spread Joy to the World.

Dear God~

As the Christmas season draws very near, I pray we experience the joy of personal relationships, especially with your son, Jesus. May we treat each other kindly, lovingly, patiently.  May we share our faith, our time, our money, and ourselves. In doing so, may  we share the love of Jesus and be your light throughout the world.

In your sons precious name, Amen

** Todays blog is dedicated to my grandmother, Lorraine. A woman of grace, commitment, hard work and deep love for her friends and family. "Biggie",  I love you, with all of my heart.**

1 comment:

  1. Your grandmother is a special soul, Michelle. She spent her entire life devoted to her family and that love comes out of her naturally. Be proud to be her granddaughter and always try to be just like here.
    Merry Christmas, Pep.