Cold Feet on Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 24

12-24By Chris Lasley of Vancouver, Washington, USA

Praise the Lord, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

—Psalm 117

When I was little, the worst gifts I got for Christmas were socks and underwear. Underwear was embarrassing and socks, well, just plain boring. Try getting excited over a pair of socks. Not something I looked forward to with great expectation.

A woman in our congregation works with hard-living students who are homeless or in foster care. Their goal is to graduate but they struggle because of their living conditions. Each year Vanessa makes a “Giving Tree” at church. She lists each student’s first name and a gift they need and a gift they want. Some gifts are cool like skateboards and others are just downright necessary, like bath towels or… socks!

The girl and boy we drew from the tree chose socks as their necessary item. My husband said, “If you ask for socks for Christmas, you must need socks.” I had to agree, though it would never have been on my list as a child.

As I wrapped the socks I thought, “This is a boring gift.” However, Vanessa shared with me that the girl student was really looking forward to getting socks. Vanessa explained that these two teens were couch surfers, meaning they were homeless. They slept on friend’s couches from house to house. The girl and her friend shared one pair of socks between them.

Some days when I’m sitting at my desk and my feet are cold, I put on as many as three pairs of socks. What if I only had one pair of socks and had to share them—sometimes going a day with bare feet? Now, when I open my over-stuffed sock drawer, I think about how those in need might look forward to Christmas. I realize how blessed I am to have so much joy to look forward to—how I am blessed to have in my heart the expectation of the Christ child. A needed AND wanted gift.

Prayer for Peace
Generous God, may we always have the joy and peace of Christ in our heart to share with others.

Spiritual Practice for Advent: Joy
Prepare room in your heart for the Christ child. Prepare room in your heart for joy. Think of the many ways you experience joy in the Advent season: bells, candles, lights, carols, special food, gift giving, time with family and friends, celebrations of the birth of Christ. Reflect on the many ways you can share joy in the Advent season: giving to those in need, making a place for everyone at the table, greeting strangers, helping others, being a presence. Continue your own list. Thank God for the joy you experience and the opportunities to share it.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will prepare for the Christ child by giving a generous gift.

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