I think about her often. She lived in a modest home built by her father. She walked with a limp; I was with her when she broke that leg. When I stayed overnight, we made fudge together. She taught me how to play poker. She was the first person I knew who had a remote on her TV, and yet, she never did get a dishwasher. She volunteered tirelessly. Her hospitality was comfortable and gracious, no pretense. Her door was always open. There was always room at her kitchen table. The coffee was always on.
She was my Grandma Elliott. She raised three children in the Great Depression. She carried the family on her back when my grandfather was ill. She loved me. I always knew that she loved me, and she loved Christmas.
She loved Christmas, the tree, the decorations, her family gathered at her house. The cards, the food, the friends, the music. She loved Christmas. She loved the story. The promise of new life stirring mysteriously in the womb of a virgin. The journey by donkey from Galilee to the sleepy village of Bethlehem. The stable, the shepherds, and the angels. The Christmas Star bearing witness to the light of the world. The lamb of God lying in a feed trough. The journey of the Wisemen as they sought the face of God.
It was just a few days before Christmas when she died. I was with her. Struck down by some strange disease that attacked her immune system. She had contracted the disease through a blood transfusion. The doctors did not even have a name for the disease then.
I remember that Christmas vividly. Presents under the tree from a Grandma who was gone. The celebration continued, carols were sung, the story was shared. Grandma loved the story.
▪ The light shines in the darkness.
▪ The cries of a baby who came to dry the tears of a thousand generations.
▪ The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Grandma loved the story.
My friends, don’t lose the story. Don’t let the story be obscured by the bright lights and advertising. Love the seasons. Love the traditions. But don’t lose the story. Come to church and hear. Invite friends to visit the story with you.
For unto YOU a child is born.