December 20 - Stockings
Christmas is socks! Well, the tradition of placing a stocking on the mantle for gifts is as old as the giving of St. Nicholas. The great thing about these stockings is that they are often personalized. On Christmas morning, each one is filled with great things like oranges, candy, or maybe a small gift unique to that person. I wonder how many people get stockings in their stockings? There are as many ways to do this as there are families – but stockings can only hold so much.
When I was growing up, instead of stockings on the mantle we had wooden shoes filled with candy to remember our Dutch heritage. Now, our family has stockings that were loving knit by a family friend (and each time we had a new child we received another in the mail for them a few weeks later).
Christmas in America outgrew the humble stocking long ago, but I think there is still a great Christmas message to honor in them. The humble stocking (even the larger ones!) encourage a measure of modesty. They protect us from excess and extravagance. They keep life sustainable and manageable. I know those words don’t scream “Christmas!” but they sure feel a lot more like a newborn placed in a manger by a traveling family than the spectacles we participate in nowadays. God’s love isn’t found in gluttony, and yet it is still abundant. I hope when we receive or give out stockings this year, we will remember the Christ-child and the beautiful simplicity of God in small things.