“Great Grandma,” he said as he reached to wrap his arms around her neck for a big hug. “You know what?”  “What Justin?”  “This has been the best Christmas ever.”  She leaned forward in her arm chair and with the biggest grandma squeeze she could muster, said. “Well, I think so too honey, what did you like best?”  “Opening presents and pumpkin pie,” he exclaimed, “I sure wish everyday could be Christmas Grandma.”

Soon, everyone had said their goodbyes and Great Grandma retired to her favorite chair, covered herself with a cozy afghan and began rocking quietly.  Tears slowly trickled down the deep creases of her weathered cheeks; memories of a wonderful day flooding her soul.   It had truly been the best Christmas ever for her too, but for a much different reason.

She thought back to the many Christmas holidays that had come and gone with little more than a signed Christmas card from her estranged daughter.  Those holidays had not been followed by tears of joy but of sorrow and heartache.  She raised her hands to heaven, looked up and said, “thank you Jesus that those days are behind and that you have brought restoration healing, I love you Jesus.”

What had caused the resentment and anger that Sara, her daughter, had felt towards her for so many years?   Maybe it began decades earlier with the many unresolved arguments they had during her teenage years.  Perhaps it was the insecurity she felt when her mother and father argued.

Little by little, the rift between them grew until Sara announced her surprising engagement and immediate wedding plans.   Sara and her boyfriend, whom her parents hardly knew, had decided to marry before anyone could see that she was pregnant.  With that announcement, the growing rift became a canyon.

Mary Ann held nothing back in making her feelings known to Sara.  It went something like this.  “I would never have believed you would disappoint us like this.  You’ve been raised as a Christian and now you’re going to embarrass your dad, me and the whole family, what’s wrong with you?”  It was exactly the response that Sara was expecting.

Or perhaps it was the divorce that followed a few years later.  Sara’s father, whom she loved and admired, divorced her mother after twenty five years of marriage.  It was a devastating blow to Sara which was made even worse when he remarried two weeks later.  Her faith in the institution of marriage had been shattered and within a year she had made the decision to end her own shaky marriage.

When the two talked, all Sara heard was repeated accounts of how badly her mother had been treated by her father.  True or not, Sara still loved her Dad and tired of the endless barrage of negative comments.  And then there was what Sara perceived as constant preaching, being told how to live her life.  It wasn’t long until the phone calls became few and far between with most ending in familiar unresolved arguments.

Holidays were hit and miss, and for Sara they had become obligations that she endured for the sake of her children.  It was only the love for the grandchildren that kept the door of communication between the two of them even slightly ajar.  Yet, on this Christmas day, mother and daughter sat side by side at the dinner table, lovingly holding hands.  Tears filling Sara’s eyes as her mother, in a quivering voice, gave thanks for her family and the meal they would soon enjoy.

Two grandchildren and four great grandchildren later, resentment, anger and bitterness had been replaced with love and acceptance.  It wasn’t a magical moment, as often portrayed in seasonal feel good movies, that brought about an instant reconciliation between mother and daughter.  It was the grace of God, provided through Jesus Christ, written about in His Word and at work through the Holy Spirit that transformed hearts of stone into hearts of clay.

Over time, as Mary Ann searched the scriptures for what she thought would be the keys to changing Sara, she discovered that the Word was changing her instead.  She realized for the first time that Jesus loved her, unconditionally, and that she had been completely forgiven for her mistakes as a mother and wife.  Her hardened religious heart was gradually transformed into a heart of clay.  So much so that she felt she could even forgive the one who had disappointed her most.  She forgave herself.

Somewhere in the midst of the transformation she lost all desire to preach to Sara.  From the abundance of her heart she began to speak words of blessing and encouragement at every opportunity.  For years there seemed to be little change in Sara’s response but the Lord kept reminding Mary Ann of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” 

For Sara the road to reconciliation was much different.  Although saved as a young girl she had not been living for the Lord.   The fruit of her life style had produced nothing but problems, hardships, and regret.  In desperation she turned to the One she hand known as a young girl only to find that He had been there all along, waiting patiently for her return.

As the Holy Spirit worked, removing the calluses of hurt that had formed around her heart, the love for her mother slowly returned.  She began to long for the relationship that had been lost and to her mother’s surprise, started responding to her overtures with love and thankfulness.

Neither Mary Ann nor her daughter could have bridge the canyon of resentment and unforgivness between them.  It was as they allowed the Holy Spirit to change their own hearts that the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) was manifested and a bridge of love was rebuilt. A relationship that had been severed little by little was also restored little by little.  And on this special Christmas day it had become evident for all to see.  This was the best Christmas ever for Great Grandma.

Mary Christmas and we love you,

Jim and Shirley

Like what you read? Leave a comment below!

They Walk With A Limp

Wrapped in a comfy robe, I leaned back in my favorite deck chair sipping a steaming caramel latte. The covered deck of my beachfront home extended beyond the second-floor family room with tall neatly aligned palm trees on both sides. A peaceful unfettered view of a...

Changing Perspective

It has been said that time heals all things. As a 70-year-old father and grandfather, I disagree. Time alone cannot heal; not the grief of losing a loved one, the heartache of a broken relationship, or the regret of a horribly wrong decision. Only God, through Jesus...

A Changed Heart – A Changed Mind

Tuesdays were counseling day. My receptionist knocked on the door rather early, 8:30 am, and ushered in a middle-aged woman. We’ll call her Judith. Business dress, classy with just the right balance of jewelry and makeup. Appeared to be a very successful and...

The Heart is a Canvas

Raising children is neither a science or a mathematical equation to be solved, it’s an art.   When your children are born, think of their hearts like a canvas, awaiting the brush strokes of an artist.  And God made no mistake when he chose you to be the artist of your...

Is Consequence a Good Teacher?

Have you ever heard a parent say, “Well, I guess he will just have to learn his lesson the hard way.”  I have, and it always makes me cringe because the hard way can be far more than you bargained for. Should children learn that the gas flames on the stove are hot by...

Reflections in the Mirror

As April looked intently into the foggy mirror above the bathroom sink; she could not imagine how God could possibly love the woman whose image she saw in the reflection. The replay button of her mind seemed stuck in the on position; constantly reminding her of...

Adolescence – Fact or Fiction?

Educators, psychologists and other proponents of adolescence have managed to convince the world that teenagers are unable to make good decisions and if not closely supervised would live irresponsible undisciplined lives.  Sigmund Freud wrote this in an essay he...

I must be Schizophrenic

“I must be Schizophrenic,” you say.  “What other explanation could there be?” “II Cor. 5:17 says that when a person is in Christ, he or she becomes a new creation; that old things pass away and everything becomes new.  If that’s true, then why haven’t I changed, why...

Free Man or Slave?

Who’s your task master?  Who brings the whip down when you fail to perform? For the children of Israel it became the Egyptians.  They certainly didn’t start out as slaves.  In fact, God delivered them from a severe famine through Joseph.  Now living in Egypt, with...


Goose bumps quickly formed on my arms and legs from the water.  How the water could be so cold in such a hot country was beyond me, but it did serve as inspiration to soap up as fast as possible.  And then, as if on cue, the water pressure suddenly dropped and reduced...

It Was Easier for Your Parents, Right?

If you were to ask a young parent, do you think raising your children is more difficult today than it was for your parents, most would answer yes.  They would immediately point to the conditions of our society and the many temptations facing their children.  But,...

Father to Son

I watched you struggling to stay on all fours when you were learning to crawl.  I reached out to catch you when you took your first steps and ran alongside as you rode your bike for the first time without training wheels. Your first base hit, winning the grueling 800...

Don’t Wait Any Longer

The male nurse lifted him from the reclined chair and laid him in the hospital bed with little effort.  This once proud man often boasted of his six foot, 180 pound physic which had been reduced to 102 pounds of skin and bones.  The colostomy bag and catheter had...

“Why, Grandpa?” Sandy Hook Elementary

“Why would someone do that Grandpa?”  That was the question my grandson asked me the evening of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It’s a question that myriads of experts will attempt to answer in the weeks and months to come.  I answered this way, “there’s...

What Do Children Really Need?

Exhausted, Michael lay in bed with his eyes wide open unable to sleep.  The plans for tomorrow and worries about the future were racing through his mind as they so often did late at night.  Sharon was sound asleep; she too was exhausted and hadn’t moved a muscle in...

Help Wanted – Father with Shepherd’s Heart

No experience necessary - must be willing to learn - on call 24/7 - only those willing to give their life need apply – not for the faint of heart Most jobs require some experience or at least an apprenticeship under the watchful eye of a journeyman.  However, when it...

Parent or Grandparent!
Grandpa Jimmy has a gift for you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This