All Those Miles

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, 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 could do with a new pipe. 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. It’s His birthday we are celebrating. Don’t ever let us 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 the stretched out hand of tolerance.

All the shining gifts that make peace on earth” (from The Bishop’s Wife).

On my way home from work, I hit a milestone. My Jeep crossed over 295,000 miles. For those who aren’t too familiar with cars and all things automotive, that’s a lot of miles. Even I know that.

So, basically, I have a 15-year old cat and an 18-year old car. Most of my shoes are old enough to be in grade school. Just about everything I own is old.

The older I get, the more I realize that what’s important, what truly matters, isn’t anything that can be bought or sold. It doesn’t come with a price tag. In fact, the most important things in life are free (or more accurately, they’re priceless).

Relationships matter. Time spent with family and friends matters. Integrity and character matter. Compassion matters.

All those things that you will never see advertised (or maybe used to motivate you to buy a product).

This Christmas, maybe instead of another gift that will end up in some Goodwill, how about spending more time with those you love? Maybe, give someone a call or send a text.

The most important gift of all won’t be found under any Christmas tree. It was found in a stable, wrapped snugly in an old blanket and laid in a feeding trough. But what was in that small stable was bigger than our whole world (to borrow a quote from Lucy Pevensie of The Chronicles of Narnia).

Advent is all about celebrating the waiting for the Messiah. It’s preparing room in our hearts to once again receive the Infant King who became Savior of the World. It’s knowing that in the heart of Jesus is enough room for you and me and all who seek Immanuel, God with us.

That, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about. That is what the best part of life is all about– your life after salvation is one extended thank you to Jesus for making that salvation possible, for actually saving you. Your lifestyle of gratitude and thanksgiving will make other people want the Jesus you have.

That’s the best kind of gift.

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