Recollections of Christmas are most times happy ones. But life itself does not stop just because it's Christmas. While many awaken that morning to sweet smells of fresh baked goodies and visions of sugar plums, all too many face just another day.
"As a child I can remember crying through most of my holidays I couldn't understand why Santa left so little for us while my friends had so much," the woman said to me.
"They were difficult times, but, as a child I had no idea what that meant in terms of Christmas. I grew up believing some fat guy gave away free toys to good little boys and girls. I had been a good girl and yet, he left nothing for me," she said.
"As poor as we were, our clothing was hand-me-downs from people who got them as hand-me-downs. My dresses were either too big or way too small. But eating as poorly as we did, I almost never had a problem fitting into them."
"It must have been difficult for your parents to face each Christmas knowing they couldn't provide for you," I said to her.
"Daddy worked in the mines and really was a difficult man to get close to. But I remember how Momma explained why we didn't get toys for Christmas," she paused for a moment, sighed and said, "She told us that our stockings had holes in them. That's why Santa couldn't leave anything for us. Things always fell out."
She smiled and laughed softly to herself. "It was a fact, you know. I can't remember a time when my socks didn't have holes. So it made sense to me. So I can remember making my Christmas list each year. All I ever asked for were new socks. I guess I planned on holding onto a pair for the next Christmas. But that Christmas never came until I was grown and very understanding of the reality of our situation."
"So, after all those years things are finally different for you?" I asked.
She remained quiet for a moment. Then turning her head toward me she said, "Yes, I've learned that life has holes in it, too. Things that you want often times fall through the holes and you're left wondering why. Not that things are as difficult for me now as they were then. But, I've lost so many little things along the way. Those little things, added all together, made my life seem hopeless. That is until I learned the great lesson of the Christmas Stocking."
"Would you care to share it with me?" I asked.
"Little holes in stockings let little things fall through. Most things we worry about are really little things. I learned to see the big things that remain. The things that can't fall through the little holes. Like good health, love, laughter, family, friends, work, sun rises and sunsets...they are all the big things," she said.
The most valuable lessons in life are learned through difficult, trying times.
"To this very day, I hang one stocking at Christmas that has a hole in the bottom. It remains empty reminding me that the greatest gifts of all can't be wrapped, placed under the tree or stuffed in a stocking."
Does your stocking have holes in it?
Be grateful for what can't fall through.