My Grandparents had a simple little house, with sparse decoration and healthy accents of clutter. I think Grandma must have grown up with too little, because she often washed our clothes as soon as we stepped in the door as if they were our only outfits. We hung out in my Grandpa’s t-shirts until the house smelled of downy softness, and our clothes were ready for another day of play. That’s what we did mostly—ran around their expansive yard all day. That is where their wealth was. In the roses that smelled better than any perfume, on the swing placed in the shade of a giant cottonwood tree, and in the rows of vegetables—I can still taste those homegrown tomatoes, spilling down my chin and sliding into my stomach, forever spoiling me for garden freshness.
When we came inside for lunch, we were usually served something like ramen noodles. I thought it was the best meal ever. We ate over a basic laminate table, next to the glass doors where we could see their beautiful yard. There were usually a few piles of mail and Parade magazines strewn about the living room. I can’t pick up a newspaper today without thinking of those piles with the summer light washing them in home-style glory.
Mostly what I remember is the smell of laundry detergent and a whole lotta love. There was never a house redecoration, or new clothes for my grandparents—no brand names haunted them—only ghosts of the Great Depression dressed as frugality. Although they could have lived a little richer, Their values were of family and the spirit of God. No matter what I did, what I said or didn’t say, I always knew I was good enough for my grandparents.
This is the spirit of Christmas. It’s a reflection of Love coming into a dark world haunted by the things that hurt and the things that hide in piles not dealt with. But there’s a light coming in, washing all of us in home-style glory, because no matter how broken we are, no matter how much we mess up, there’s a Savior loving us anyway.