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...
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.