The empty stocking
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Rachel and I don't have a chimney to hang our Christmas stockings carefully, and we don't have a mantle that works for that either. So we hang our stockings right on the wall with a simple thumbtack. We started that when we moved into our house six years ago, and we were overjoyed when two additional stockings joined the wall in 2018.
Now, five stockings hang where two once did, but this Christmas, one of the stockings will be empty for the second year in a row.
I have long dreamt for what Christmas would look like with my kids; seeing the joy on their face when they open their presents, traveling to grandpa and grandma's house to celebrate with family, and taking all of the Christmas family pictures in front of the tree. I still have those opportunities, but our Christmas will always be incomplete - that empty stocking reminds us of that.
That's the same reason we haven't sent out Christmas cards for the past two years. I come from a family that takes Christmas cards and letters seriously. Growing up, the Christmas letter author changed every year. Rachel and I were so excited to write our first letter announcing her pregnancy - and even more excited for 2018 when the twins were nearly one.
But there is no way to write a Christmas letter and talk about every member of our family any more, at least not a way to write the letter that others would want to read. In the same way, our family pictures will not be complete either. Maybe at some point, we will send out Christmas cards again, but we're not there yet.
All of this has got me thinking more deeply about Christmas. Christmas, the arrival of King Jesus, in the most humble way imaginable - in Bethlehem, the town of bread, for Jesus the Bread of Life, announced to the world through the lowly occupation of a shepherd, for the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the real reason we celebrate Christmas, and the empty stocking is a reminder to me of that.
Christ's birth matters little if it wasn't for his death on Good Friday and the empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday. This brings me back to the empty stocking - a reminder that I have hope to see my son again in heaven someday because of the cross and the empty tomb where Jesus laid.
Christmas is here, a time to celebrate the birth of a baby in a feeding trough and to celebrate the life of the King who came to earth to save those who believe in him - not just their earthly lives but to save them for all eternity.
If you have questions, want to know more about my story or the Lord that I serve, let me know.