Which list of Santa’s should I have been on? Should I have received candy and toys in my stocking? Or a lump of coal, as the old story goes. Every Christmas as a little girl I did something very mischievous with the help of my sister.
Christmas was wonderful in my home. Our mother knew how to give children a magical time even though we had very little money. There were five of us in our family. And although my dad’s business was successful, and he was well respected in the community, he didn’t charge very much for his excellent work. And mom wasn’t employed outside the home when we were young, so expensive gifts were out of the question. It wasn’t in my dad’s nature to make too much out of celebrations; that was mom’s territory. However, the one thing dad insisted on was good quality music. So at Christmas he provided a rich atmosphere from his Christmas album collection. I loved the fine things my parents brought into my life.
Nothing yet to indicate coal for me. Probably all toys and candy.
Every Christmas season, along the whole width of the living room wall, just above where dad’s audio system stretched, mom hung her beautiful hand-made Bethlehem mural. There was a night time countryside scene and huge cloth Bible figures. I can still see the three wise men there that she sewed, and a camel, an angel and a brilliant star, all made of what seemed to me, exquisite, multi-coloured silk. Of course, it couldn’t have been silk, unless she went to The Salvation Army thrift store and found remnants; that’s possible. But what an impression this made on me each Christmas as I walked past the living room and was reminded of the incredible story of Jesus.
Still, no red flags about coal in my stocking. I was just a nice little kid who loved life and her family and Christmas…..
One very special gift under the tree each year came to us children from our beloved Uncle Bert. Every November, he and Aunt Elizabeth wrote us a letter asking what we would like from the Sears catalogue. They gave a generous price outline and we could choose within it. Every year my sister and I, when we were small, would ask for baby dolls. And every December a big package arrived at our country mail box, full of gifts. These gifts went straight to mom’s bedroom closet to wait for December 25th. And even though they were wrapped and covered over with shopping bags, Connie and I could not resist an early visit to that closet. There was nothing on earth like the thrill of uncovering those spectacular new dolls in their boxes and the smell of the unique materials they were made of, especially when it was a forbidden activity – a sneak peek at shimmering buried treasure.
Coal? Oh, maybe.
Whether or not our mother knew that such foul activity took place under her wholesome roof, she never said a word. Even if she did know, she probably wouldn’t say anything. Such was her nature, to have a twinkle in her eye and to fully understand the minds of her small children. She wouldn’t overlook deliberate, repeated disobedience or bad behavior from her kids, but she had grace enough to ‘get’ the breathless, even urgent heart of a child with big stars in her eyes.
So – which list? Naughty or Nice? Candy or Coal?
I do, even now, after all these years, feel sorry that I deceived everyone. I’m not proud that I broke a trust and I have asked God to forgive that sneaky little girl from long ago. But without a doubt I found my Christmas stocking filled, not with anything as cruel as coal, but with sweet gifts and candy, all hand-crafted and blessed by a loving mother.
And as for our Lord – no coal from Him either…..just a priceless offer of salvation, forgiveness and a life worth living in his presence. Whether we’re perfectly good all the time, or we slip up and make mistakes….His Grace knows the difference!“So, you’d better watch out, I’m telling you why”……. Click To Tweet “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Click To Tweet
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!