Well, it’s here…ready or not. Christmas is tomorrow, friends. I just finished doing a few Santa duties on my own while I wait for my husband to return from our church’s late candlelight service. It’s such an honor for him to serve communion as a deacon in this special season celebrating the Christ child.
It’s become pretty normal for me to try to get a few things done on my own before he gets back home in about an hour or so. As I sit here typing, I’ve just finished stuffing the stockings and making an overnight french toast dish for breakfast. As far as the stockings go, I filled Scott’s first…followed by Wyatt’s…and then Luke’s. I try not to think too much about the empty stocking that remains hanging on our mantel between the boys. It’s been empty for nearly five Christmas’ now.
About a month ago, I received a text from a dear friend who just two days ago celebrated her son’s 4th birthday without him here. The Christmas season was just beginning and we were both expressing how difficult it is to hang the stockings that will never be filled. Something that we know we have to do. But something that is another tangible reminder of the tremendous loss we endure daily. Another mom going through the same grief. Another empty stocking hung.
Then just a couple weeks later, an unimaginable tragedy in an elementary school in Connecticut. More sorrow. More empty stockings.
My heart literally aches for moms across this world that have empty stockings tonight. I can’t help but wish things were different. That, in our home, there was a bright splash of pink babydolls and glitter lipgloss and sparkles in the midst of the 4 wheeler and guns and baseball gear. I’ve thought many times in the past about putting flowers in it for her special place or more hairbows or anything that I know she’d love. I just can’t. It’s too hard to fill it with something for someone who will never need it. She already has everything.
As I clung to my daughter’s empty stocking earlier this evening, I decided to make a choice to view it differently than I have in the past. I’m choosing to see Annabelle’s empty stocking not as a symbol of my daughter being gone, but as a sign of Jesus’ return (and having her back). Because HE left the grave empty, too. And, it seems that when viewing her empty stocking in the light of Eternity…it may just be exactly the way He perfectly planned it.
There is Hope in the emptiness, friends. And, if you are empty in any way this Christmas…it is my sincere prayer that Jesus fills the void of all that is missing. May you have a very merry Christmas!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!” Isaiah 9:6