Elda's Christmas Cloth

Elda sorted through the bottom drawer of her bureau with both hands. Finally feeling the stitched edging of the linen come into her hand, her spirits rose upward. It was the sacred time of year, yet again, and her heart swelled with anticipation at what her Savior might do in the next few weeks.

She moved slowly into the sitting room of her small apartment in the 'senior community' where she had only recently settled, unfolding the Christmas cloth as she went. Elda remembered how stiff and proper it had been when she'd purchased it as a twenty-year-old girl, at the dime store one block from her seminary quarters. How threadbare it had become!  Just like me, she mused as she held the cloth up to the light streaming through the block window over the tiny second-hand couch.  Elda smiled and shook her head, I once was stiff and proper too, but now I'm thin and soft with all my dignity worn away. She yielded praise for the uncanny wisdom of her Lord and began to remove the framed photos from her coffee table. 

Her gnarled hands spread the festive fabric over the wooden surface and stroked the folds smooth. This foldable Christmas token had traveled the world's mission fields with her over the last sixty years, one of the few things she took wherever she had been sent. Always tucked securely in the bottom of her leather satchel, together they had slipped down jungle rivers by canoe, crossed mountain borders by train, and trekked miles of remote pathways. 

Countless brown fingers had caressed it with curiosity, and always, always she had waited breathlessly for the questions which would follow. What is this cloth? What does it mean? What is Christmas?  Her chance to share the Gospel through the story of the Lord's birth! Elda remembered with joy the faces of those who had knelt  with her in tiny huts or curtained alcoves, on so very many dirt floors, to be born anew into the Kingdom of God. Wherever she had been, in whatever discomfort was necessary, these opportunities had been her favorite gifts every December. 

Peace on Earth had come to many whose hands she had grasped over this very cloth. And now as she spread it again, she looked forward, wondering who might be brought to her this year, her ninety-first year, to discover and celebrate the true Christmas. Father, if You will, let this old missionary woman of Yours share the Good News one more time this Christmas! 

Elda's doorbell buzzed and the entry swung open to admit the nurse on duty for this corridor of apartments. She smiled a welcome to the young woman who wheeled a small cart overflowing with pills and syringes. The nurse directed small talk at Elda, telling her about the weather and letting her know what would be brought for dinner in just a couple of hours. She packed away her gear and stopped short as her eyes finally fell upon Elda's Christmas cloth. 
Oh! You've decorated for Christmas, have you? 

Click this link to hear the Good News of Christmas for yourself.
I think Elda would approve. 

Buy Elda's Christmas Cloth here.


Jenny said...

I hope you keep writing. A sweet story with a great message.

YWH said...

What happens next? I love the story and the storyteller!