Growing up, the Christmas stockings were the best part of Christmas morning. My brother would also agree. My mom would search for the perfect, meaningful gifts all year and at various places. “I got that while your dad and I were out of town”. My mom was always thoughtfully planning to make our stockings special, before Christmas was even a thought in our heads.
Each stocking stuffer was carefully wrapped, waiting to be uncovered by kids wondering what Mom had put in there this time. I’ve unwrapped mini 90s shimmery lipsticks and flavored lip balms. Novelty school supplies, such as a pencil topped with a vial of polished stones, because my mom knew I loved collecting rocks. There was also an oversized eraser with the printed phrase “Homework Causes Brain Damage”, because my mom knew what a struggle the school year had been and that I needed a laugh. Before there were fidget spinners and fidget blocks, there were my mom’s stocking stuffers. Mind puzzles that took fiddling with your hands to solve and items that quietly kept your mind busy. And for a kid that had an anxious mind, it felt like mom had put magic in the Christmas stocking. And sometimes there literally was magic in my stocking. I had a love for the art of illusion, optical illusion and the art of performance illusion. With dreams of growing up to be a professional illusionist, unwrapping magic tricks made my imaginative heart happy. To believe just for a moment that magic was real…
But for the observer, the stockings may have appeared to be filled with pointless, meaningless things. What a waste of time to spend all year on such small things. The perception of the observer and the perception of the giver and receiver can be worlds apart.
At the first Christmas, Mary had been fleeing for her child’s life when she gave birth in a stable. I’m sure it appeared less than magical. But for Mary, I’m sure it was more than magical. It was miraculous. Giving birth to her first child and holding him for the first time. Do you remember holding your baby the first time? The warmth, the smell, the joy. And not just any child, but the Savior. Mary was the first one to receive this beautiful gift that God had planned long ago. And this gift isn’t just for Mary, but is for each person on Earth. Tailor made for each of our needs since the first wrong. And for the receiver of Jesus, is found an abundant life for eternity. To have sins washed away, to have the promise of eternity, and to have the storms of anxiety calmed is more than magic. To the receiver, Jesus is a very welcomed miracle at just the right time.
And now I’m the mom filling my own kids’ stockings with perfect, meaningful gifts. Things that they love and make their hearts happy. I’ve come to understand that there was more than just magic in my stocking. There was Jesus. My mom had been pointing me to this precious gift the whole time with her thoughtful planning, love, kindness, and care. And my hope is my kids can find the magic and miracle of Christmas. I hope that I have pointed them to Jesus, especially in the smallest of ways. Even in their Christmas stockings.