Fiction Friday: December 31

The Rose-Colored Blanket

AlwaysARose (ChelleBee)

Summary:

This story was inspired by a little girl who, years ago, covered the Baby Jesus in her family’s Nativity Scene
with a doll’s blanket, by the chapter called “The Marble Boy” in “Mary Poppins Opens The Door” by P. L. Travers,
and by the many homilies about Christmas gifts that I’ve heard over the years.

People, especially strangers, often wondered why Greta, a big girl nine years old, still carried an old, tattered faded rose-colored blanket around. Some of them even suggested to her father that he take the blanket away from her.

“No,” said her father firmly, “Greta shall keep her blanket for as long as she wants to. It’s her most treasured possession.”

Some people dropped the subject, but others asked questions like,
“How can an old blanket be a nine-year-old’s most treasured possession? Is there (voices lowered) something wrong with her?”

“No, there’s nothing wrong with my little girl. The only thing wrong in her life is that her mother died when she was just barely four.
Every night she used to cover Greta with that blanket, and sing her to sleep. That blanket,” Greta’s father concluded, “holds
my child’s tenderest memories of a mother gone too soon. I think she will know when or if to give it up.”

Greta’s father had no idea that his daughter would soon give up her beloved blanket without anyone coaxing or shaming her into doing so.

It was the Sunday after Christmas Day, a chilly morning with snow on the ground. Greta and her father walked over to the little parish Church for Mass. Greta had one hand in her father’s. Her other hand, of course, held her beloved blanket.

In his homily that morning, the priest, Fr. O’Brian, spoke about Christmas gifts.
“And what have you given, this Christmas, to the Baby Jesus? What will you give to Him?”

“What can I give to Him?” Greta asked herself.
What, indeed? And then she knew.

When the Mass was over, Greta walked up to the Nativity Scene, gave her blanket one kiss for goodbye, and spread it over the statue of the Baby Jesus.
“Little girl,” an overly-dressed woman scolded, “how dare you put that old rag on the Baby Jesus!”
And she reached down and removed the blanket.
But then, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary shook her head, gently took back the blanket, and spread it over the Baby.
And the tattered, ragged, faded blanket, suddenly new again, became part of the statue.

Greta still lives in the same parish, and is now a grandmother.

That same Nativity Scene is still put up every Christmas. The statues have, by necessity, been repainted many times, but the rose-colored blanket has never faded.

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