Holiday, Personal

A Christmas Tradition, From My Family to Yours

Every Christmas, my grandfather would either send a typewritten letter with the family’s annual Christmas card, or, after the advent of email, a message to family and friends with the following sermon from the movie The Bishop’s Wife. Watching The Bishop’s Wife is a family tradition of long standing, one my husband and I have incorporated into our celebrations. Receiving this email always makes me remember the many blessings we have, and the true reason for the holiday season. I lost my grandfather two years ago, and when we interred his ashes last year, I was so grateful that I could share this with those who came to celebrate his life. As I have done every year since his passing, I am taking over this tradition and sharing it with you. It feels more timely than ever.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate; if not, I wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.

But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. Its his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that.

Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in His share: loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched-out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.

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