Christmas also time to love, cherish 'Amazing Grays'
By D. Clay Perkins
Saturday, December 16, 2017
“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” — Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)
It was her first Christmas since her husband died. She had moved in with her son, his wife, and daughter. Since she had moved in, her hands had begun to tremble more, and her hearing and sight were failing. In fact, it seemed that her whole body was falling apart. She would often fall and create chaos. Meal times were the worst. She could hardly remember a meal that did not become a mess. Eating was an awkward task.
One day was especially embarrassing. She spilled her milk, broke dishes, and food was everywhere. From that time on, the family made a special table just for her. Easy to clean. Near the family table, but not at the table.
Even still she was grateful to be a part of the household. She was grateful to be around her son and his family. She was so happy she was not alone. She felt safer with the family. But meal times were the most difficult. Seldom was a word spoken to her at meal time other than, “What did you spill this time?” Or, “Good grief, what a mess.” Or, “You are just like a baby.” How she longed to eat at the table. How happy she was to be with family.
But this was Christmas dinner. Surely she would be allowed to sit at the table on this of all special days. Surely today she could eat without creating a mess. She had been working on keeping her food on her fork and spoon. Her secret Christmas wish was to eat at the table. As she made her way for Christmas dinner her heart became full when she saw the meal. It was just like she used to cook. There was every type of food cooked to perfection. Prepared with love. The table was set with the best china, crystal and silver. Her heart was empty when she saw her table in the corner, with paper plates, plastic cups and utensils. But then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw her granddaughter building something in the other corner.
“What’s that you’re building?” asked Mom and Dad.
Up until now they had barely noticed. Both were so busy preparing the meal and setting the table. But she had been working on this quietly for hours.
“That’s your table. I am setting it up so when you are old and I am big, you, too, can eat in the corner,” she told them.
Stunned, they stared at each other. Then rubbing the tears from their eyes, they moved Grandma back to the table. Never again did Grandma eat at a separate table. Never again did they seem to mind the mess she made.
Many will remember this classic children’s story adapted from the Brothers Grimm. The story is a reminder to us all that those among us who are old should be valued and that all of us, if we live long enough, will become old.
Christmas is a time for children. And we should not change that. It is a time when we all seek to find out what is on our child’s Christmas list. A time adults can forget about pain and struggles for a moment and focus on the dreams of their children. A time to forget about war and turn our hearts to peace on earth. (Luke 2:14) A time to remember the Christ child. (Luke 2)
Let us remember this Christmas those who are young at heart, those whose holidays are filled with memories of days gone by. Those who might have trouble walking up the stairs. Or those who may not be able to eat a meal without making a mess. Christmas is a time to care for those around us with gray hair, a crown of splendor. Age is to be honored. Being old is a blessing.
So this Christmas, while finding that perfect toy for that sweet child, why not find time to love those Amazing Grays, too.
Dr. D. Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.