It was almost Christmas and my Grand Mother and Aunt had just put out our small table top manger. I remember seeing a child of five kneeling before it and carefully examining each of the small ceramic figures.
This year we had added a new one. It was an angel placed where she could watch over the holy family. I noticed the wise men and the shepherds had also come with gifts for the baby newly born but what gift had the angle brought.
Turning to Grandma who sat near by in her rocking chair stitching by hand a quilt she was making from scraps of worn out clothing, I asked her what gift the angel had brought.
Why, the angels brought him a quilt she replied. But where is it? I persisted, “I don’t see it.” “Thats because it was made out of light” she replied. The angels begin to create that quilt from the time God created people . Each angel set for himself that task of going out into the human world and collecting every kind deed every comforting word, every fragment of loveliness a human created. They transformed all of these elements into patches of light to add to the quilt.
There were times when they had to search very hard for these precious fragments. But if they search really hard they were still able to discover small acts of kindness, some shimmering thread of self sacrifice, some hidden treasure of love in even the dreariest corners of this old world and these were the gifts they brought to the holy babe of Bethlehem. In the vast halls of heaven they stitch all of these deeds together with threads of silver and gold light in order that the holy child may be protected from the icy touch of indifference, the frigid blasts of hate and the life sapping chill of mans inhumanity to man.
I asked if we could make a quilt to cover the figure lying in the bed of straw in the manager.
So Grandma agreed to make a tiny patch for each good deed she saw me doing. I must have been very good that year because on Christmas morning she first thing I saw was a tiny patchwork quilt covering the figure of the baby in the manger.