Our home, like every other home this time of year, bears the decorations of the Christmas season. This is all thanks to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. My assigned role in the whole Christmas affair was to keep out of her way. And, out of her way, I kept.
Consequently, our house is full of the glitter and tinsel of the season with Christmas music playing in the background. In the very center of all of this holiday collage, sits our Christmas tree begging for Christmas gifts. Every once in a while I catch it casting a wishful look in my direction. I pretend not to notice. After all, I'm not Santa Claus.
One afternoon I was in the house by myself and had a strange feeling something was missing. Walking around and looking at all the unique decorations I just could not put my finger on it, but something was absent. I know what a thorough job my wife does with this sort of thing, and so I was not about to approach her with my query.
The more I pondered this, the more perplexing it became. Then it hit me. There definitely was something missing in our Christmas ornamentation. The answer came to me when I was rehearsing in my mind the old poem, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Somewhere in the beginning of that poem are these words, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;" I quickly looked around and discovered no stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
The first problem I faced was, we had no chimney. I assure you, this was not a major setback with me in my quest. Once I set my mind to something, I will not stop until it is finished.
Not far from the Christmas tree was a shelf upon which were arranged various Christmas knickknacks and decorations. This, in my opinion, would be a wonderful place to hang our Christmas stockings.
One other problem I had; I could not find any Christmas stockings. This would not in any way hinder my progress. I love a challenge, and do my best when the odds are stacked against me.
Looking for something to improvise, which is something my wife is quite famous for, I happened to notice I was wearing socks. Voilà. Without a moments hesitation I took off my shoes, pulled off my socks and hung them on the bookshelf with care in hopes that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage would notice them there.
We may not have a glowing fireplace in our living room, but a warm, glowing feeling of satisfaction was stirring up inside me. I love Christmas.
I almost forgot the situation when a few hours later my wife came home from her Christmas shopping. I was in my easy chair reading Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." I always read this book this time of the year. Sure, I enjoy the movie adaptations, but nothing is like getting back to the real thing. A Christmas without reading "A Christmas Carol," is no Christmas in my thinking.
I was engaged with Ebenezer Scrooges' "Humbug," when I heard a cry of alarm coming from our living room. "What in the world stinks in here?"
This shows very plainly the difference between men and women. Women are always finding things that stink. My wife's nose is so delicate she can differentiate between a thousand different smells and identify the source to each and every one.
I think she has some kind of smell-phobia, which is, as far as I know, no cure. And believe me, I have looked. Living with someone allergic to stink is a real hardship.
"Did something in this house die while I was away?"
I did fall asleep and was dead to the world for about 25 minutes. I rather doubt this was the cause of the snoot full of stink she was currently experiencing. Being the dutiful husband I am, I immediately ran to her rescue.
"Something in this house stinks awfully bad."
I just looked at her not knowing what to do or say at the time. Then her attention was drawn to the stockings hung with care. "What in the world are these?" she demanded.
With a St. Francis of Assisi smile on my face, I explained to her what I had done while she was away.
"Take those filthy socks outside and burn them." Then, much to my consternation, and despite the coolness of the outside weather, all the windows and doors were opened for three days to get what she called "the stink," out of our house. Her fumigation was not in complete harmony with what I considered the holiday spirit.
Even my malodorous socks cannot diminish what Christmas is all about. After burning my socks I turned to the promise in the Old Testament, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV). All the way to the New Testament and the fulfillment of that promise. "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 KJV).
Jesus is the Christmasfication of every home. Apart from him, Christmas is just an empty holiday.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.james snyderministries.com