Christmas traditions vary from family to family. And over the years life gives rise to changes. As my family of 6 (2 adults, 4 children) grew, so did the number of Christmas stockings that were ‘hung by the chimney with care.’ At this time, 20 individualized stockings will be filled with gifts, fruit, candy, and nuts. Sixteen of them will hang from my mantle. Four of them will grace a cozy little home, way over in Africa!

   Christmas stockings are a big deal in our family. Every item, excluding the fruit, is individually wrapped. Guaranteeing the escalation of fun with the unwrapping of each and every item. 

   Because we can’t imagine a Christmas without stockings, great effort is always made to ensure stockings and Christmas presents make a joint appearance come Christmas.  This has proven to be a little tricky over the years with our son and his family. Yet God has been faithful. Because of His provision we have been able to send both stockings and presents  to wherever our son and his family have found themselves at Christmas time.  

   For instance, when our son and his family returned to the field in August, empty Christmas stockings were strategically placed within their luggage. In early November, I gathered, wrapped, and packed items for those stockings. Then after Thanksgiving, stocking contents (along with Christmas presents from their families back home) will travel with dear friends across the ocean.  As Christmas draws near, the stockings will be filled with the items we sent, and the presents will be placed around their tree. Come Christmas, my son and his family will have as complete a Christmas as our family can manage.

   Would I prefer to have all 20 stockings filled and hanging from my mantle for Christmas? Of course I would! But God had other plans. And because we ALL trust Him to do what is best for us, we adjust our plans to fit His plans. Finding that His grace is always sufficient and sustaining.

   Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not where the stockings are hung that’s important. It’s that families find ways to connect and celebrate in unison the traditions they hold dear. And for our family, stuffed Christmas stockings, with  our names monogrammed in gold puffy glue, accomplishes that!  No matter where  those stockings may be hung.