Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Stocking Gifts

These next 12 months will be a year of firsts for my family.  Many of you reading this know exactly what I mean.  For the first year following the death of a loved one, every significant event will be the first … whatever … without them.  We are in that year, and heading toward the first Christmas since Dad passed away in August.
Christmas will always bring up some memories of Dad that will bring laughter and tears at the same time.  He was without a doubt one of the most giving people I have ever known … but he never made a big show of the giving.  His focus was always on the recipient of the gift rather than on the fact that he was giving it.  We could always count on seeing Mom melt into a puddle of tears upon opening one of her gifts from Dad.  I have only given Dawn a very few gifts in our almost 25 years of marriage that have made her cry.  Dad did it every Christmas.
When children reach a certain age, Santa Claus passes the filling of Christmas stockings on to the parents.  My sisters and I learned about this phenomenon when we were all three in our teens and we began to see a change in the kinds of gifts we found in our stockings.  The usual candy and trinkets were joined by three or four new things with cute little notes attached in Dad’s handwriting explaining why they were in there.  Almost all of them were humorous, like the eyebrow pencil I found in my stocking the first time I tried to grow a moustache (my face didn’t produce a “decent” one until I was about 22 or 23).  The good-natured teasing and the laughter that the stocking-gift notes brought came to be one of the things we most anticipated about Christmas morning.  It was also Dad’s gift of knowing, understanding (usually), and caring (always) about our lives.
One of the miracles of Christmas is that our God actually steps into the lives of those who worship Him and gets involved in the things that matter to us.  He did it at Christ’s birth, and He continues to do it by His Holy Spirit in our lives.  While other world religions have deities that demand and dictate to their followers, the one true God pours himself out into the lives of those who would accept His love through His gift of Jesus Christ.
That’s enough to think about for now.  The peace of Christ to you.


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