The girl was about 11, thin, freckle-faced, hair pulled into a tight pony-tail, with thick bangs. She had worked for months- almost a year on knitting a scarf. She would pull the scarf out here and there and knit a few rows. Then, she would forget about the scarf, only to work on it a week or two later.
This scarf started out light blue in color. It was uneven, like her bangs. It had huge holes in it- places where the girl screwed up many stitches. It looked like it got drug through the mud a time or two. The girl loved the woods- so chances are it DID get drug through the mud.
The scarf was for a special someone. Someone who was known for always encouraging, complimenting, and being nice to everyone- someone who loved the girl very much, and who the girl loved so much. After many months of working on the scarf, it was only in the shape of a small square. The girl progressed slowly on this project.
Christmas approached. The girl wanted to finish the scarf for her special love. For this may be the last Christmas for the recipient of the gift. The girl sat on the floor of her bedroom and knit her heart out. She was determined to make the scarf long enough.
A Christmas cartoon about a red ornament was on the TV.
The girl knit and knit.
She could see her parents in the kitchen making dinner. Dusk made the lighting in her bedroom dim.
The girl knit and knit.
Alas, the scarf seemed long enough to wear. The girl didn’t wash it before wrapping it. All the months of who-knows-what still remained in the scarf- but the girl was too excited- she had to get it right over to the recipient (and quite honestly, the scarf may have fallen apart in the wash).
The girl finished dinner. Then put on her coat.
In the dark she crossed the snow covered street. The sole street light shown down on her as the big snowflakes fell. The outside was quiet- they were the only 2 houses that part of the woods. The girl went up the slight hill at the beginning of the driveway and walked down the rest of the line drive- to the house tucked back in the woods.
The house had a porch light on and light could be seen coming from the front door. The face of the girl’s sweet grandma met her at the door- welcoming her into the house.
The girl was excited and gave the sweet woman her gift. Some days it was hard to recognize the woman- the chemo did strange things to her body: weight fluctuates, strength faded, hair fell. The girl was eager to give this woman the warm object she made-for she hoped it would help keep her Grandma warm.
While the girl watched this precious woman unwrap the gift, she tried to stay strong, as she knew this was the last Christmas she may ever spend with this Grandma. She wanted to remember it forever.
She watched as the woman, not old by any means, marveled over the handiwork. Then the woman hung it on a hook in the porch and went to lay down- for her strength was fading greatly.
A few days later the girl watched as her Grandma walked from her home to the vehicle that was picking her up. It surprised the girl to see the grandma wear the scarf around her head like a bonnet. She knew this was where the Grandma needed the most warmth- but she still expected a scarf to be wrapped nicely around the neck, for that was all the girl knew.
Each year the girl, now grown, reflects on past Christmases, and each year this memory is one of her favorites. She chuckles at how awful the scarf looked, yet she smiled at how her Grandma cherished it anyways. Her Grandma could have laughed at it and made fun of it- but instead she welcomed the gift with wide open arms, and even wore the scarf in public for all to see.
This Grandma was poor in finances, but rich in love. The girl can remember only ever getting one Christmas gift from this precious lady- reindeer statue- but what is important is the love and support- the encouragement the girl remembered her Grandma gave her through the years. She could never remember anything negative coming out of the sweet woman’s mouth.
For this love displayed to the girl, this encouragement, is what the girl remembers as the true meaning of Christmas. Can we support others with encouragement this Christmas and New Years? Encouragement costs nothing- for this Grandma had no money. But it makes a big dent, a big impact in a person’s heart. Encouragement and love sticks with a person longer than any store bought gift ever could.
Merry Christmas and Merry Encouraging!
(The attached photo is not of the scarf, but of an afghan the Grandma crocheted.)