Sunday, December 24, 2006

An Empty Stocking

Tonight I want to tell you a story about an empty stocking...

Once upon a midnight clear there was a child's cry.
A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts.
We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries.
We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees and the cry of bells and gifts...
but especially with gifts.
You give me a book.
I give you a tie.
Aunt Martha always wanted an orange squeezer
and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe.
Oh, we forget nobody, adult or child.
All the stockings are filled.
All that is, except one.
We have even forgotten to hang it up.
A stocking for the child born in a manger.
It's his birthday we're celebrating.
Dont let us ever forget that.
Let's ask ourselves what He would wish for most.
And then let each put in his share...
Loving kindness
Warm hearts
and the stretched out hand of tolerance...
All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.
from The Bishiop's Wife

The Bishop's Wife is one of my favorite movies and I try to watch it every year. Many years ago, before Marley was born, as I watched it, I decided that our house needed a stocking for Jesus. We hang it up each year in the center of the mantle and place a copy of this little sermon in it. On Christmas morning when we are all awake, we will read it and then talk about what we have done in the past year, as a family and as individuals, that could be considered a gift to Jesus. Then, of course, the contents of our own stockings are spilled on the floor and the carnage of present begins soon after. But for a few moments on Christmas morning, we stop to consider God's gift to us in the sending of his son and what we can do to express our gratitude for that greatest gift.

Merry Christmas!

While it may look as if my teenage son is facing a firing squad,
I can assure you, it was merely a camera.


L-Girl said...

I LOVE your tradition on Christmas morning before all the hustle and bustle. It actually brings tears to my eyes! Merry Christmas to you and your family. I just might have to adopt your tradition with a stocking for Jesus. What a touching idea. And I will be watching that movie too! Enjoy the magic of Christmas!

V-Grrrl said...

Missed the movie. Love this tradition. It's one we'll have to add to our family celebration.

And the expression on your son's face looks very familiar. My son hates having his photo taken--always.

atypical said...

Tried to comment yesterday, but my computer locked up.

I am another one who will likely be stealing your idea next year. Of course, I will make a few very slight modifications and claim it as my own. ;)

I love the picture. I can honestly say that I have seen that expression a few times in my life. LOL

I hope the blessings of Christmas keep overflowing on you for months to come.


meredith said...

Nice photo! I hope you are all have a nice Christmas.

Beck said...

Ah, teenagers and cameras. I believe I had that expression on my face for like, four solid years. I love that stocking tradition! That's lovely!

metro mama said...

Merry Christmas!

There are many photos of me as a teenager like this.

MarillaAnne said...

Love the tradition! Will have to ck out the movie.

Believe it or not ... your son ... looks just like he's in front of a camera.

Just stopped in to get caught up and say "Happy Twelve Days of Christmas"


daisies said...


merry christmas my dear!! hope it was absolutely wonderful ...

i think it is the universal teenage look ~ they call it bershon ( heh heh ...

Mary-LUE said...

Omigosh! However did you find that? It is the perfect description. Of course, my lovely son has been bershon since third grade! ;)

ECR said...

It's fun to be able to match faces to yourself and the family you write about. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that the new year is full of happiness and welcomed surprises.

ewe are here said...

Nice tradition.

And, well, to teenagers, cameras taking family photos might very well be the equivalent to a firing squad. ;-)

StuChew said...

That is a great reminder for all of us. I have been trying to keep our childrens focus on Jesus during His birthday. I must that is is so wonderful that your son put all of his joy in the stocking

EnnuiHerself said...

I read this post last week. I've been meaning to stop by and say that the empty stocking is the most beautiful Christmas tradition that I've ever heard.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!