T’was the night before Christmas Eve…
And I was stopping by the nursing home with a handful of cards that my CCD students had made for the residents. It had been a tiring day at work but I only had 10 cards and I knew it wouldn’t take long to hand-deliver them.
I asked the desk nurses who might like a Christmas card or who doesn’t often have visitors and they quickly pointed me down the north wing.
Ten construction-paper Christmas cards.
But eleven souls given a gift.
Mine just couldn’t be pinned on a bulletin board.
I stepped into a room with two small, white-haired women. One was reclined in her bed watching TV. The other was cuddled under heavy blankets and appeared to be sleeping.
The first one was absolutely delighted with her simple, teenager-designed Christmas card. "Beautiful," she kept saying. "So beautiful." Cheerful and child-like despite her grim surroundings. You’re the one that’s beautiful, I thought to myself, as she chattered away about the beautiful card and the delicious food and the nice people.
The second lady was awake by then and enjoyed her card, though more quietly.
“Is there anything I can do for you, or pray for?” I asked on my way out.
“Just pray for us,” they replied in unison, their eyes and wistful smiles saying as much as their words.
Just as I stepped through the door to leave, I heard the quiet one’s voice again.
I love you.
I blinked back tears as I turned around. Who was this woman? What was her story? Where was her family? Did she yearn for love, to give and to receive it? To have someone to say “I love you” to?
But the answers didn’t really matter at the moment. It was simply God speaking in two souls to each other. So I held back the tears and smiled with my reply...
I love you, too.