The Stockings are Hung

The line of stockings hung from the stairway banister keeps catching me by surprise. They began, 36 years ago when someone gave my parents a baby gift. The hand knitted Rudolph stocking was a treasure and my mom’s friend shared the stocking patterns with her. Even though Rudolph is faded, the red more orange and the brown more dusty, it has hung for the past 14 years next to a vibrant snowman. It was the perfect present to celebrate our first Christmas together.
After much waiting and longing and hoping, I accepted two stockings, hung alone, would be our complete family.
With surprised joy, we added Santa to the stocking line and a baby’s first Christmas ornament to the tree, both treasured gifts from the woman who’s knitting needles were just getting warmed up.
Hope came and went and the three stockings remained. My heart was reminded to be grateful for the unexpected gift of one child and to accept our family was complete with three stockings. A little family. No more stockings. Quite Content.
Mrs. Claus and Candy Canes unpredictably joined the line. Two more children and I was overwhelmed. Life was grey. Life was hard. My soul was hurt.
The stockings hung, year after year. Finally they brought a smile and hope that family life could bring joy. Those stockings made me smile and I knew my soul was healed.
I never expected to add another to the line. I was scared and found myself absorbing every possible moment of comfortable family life, not knowing what Christmas would bring. The knitting needles clicked and now there’s six snuggled on the banister. Another snowman and there’s unexpected joy bubbling out of me.
I didn’t expect six to fit so nicely. I didn’t expect six to be comfortable. I didn’t expect six to be a catalyst to significant healing.
I didn’t expect those stockings to grow from two.
This Christmas I’m celebrating the unexpected gifts that come from a Savior who started in an unexpected place.

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  1. Ruth, This brings tears to my eyes. This time last year I was weeks away from adopting an 11 year old boy. I found out days before Christmas that it wasn't going to happen. This year, I'm finding myself having such a tender heart and wondering where he is and what could have been. Congratulations on your beautiful family! Only one stocking for me, but prayers that someday soon there will be more.

  2. What a lovely, heartfelt post. I wasn't sure I would have any little ones either, and now have two stepchildren and two of my own. Being a mother has been the most challenging and joyful piece of my life. Such blessings every day 🙂

  3. Ruth, can you see me smiling and hear me clapping!!! And I was there to see the seed planted!!! What a faithful ending to an endearing slice of your life. Thank you including me in your writing life. You are special.

  4. Special story of the stockings, and your special family. Joyful to hear the story, Ruth, & to see the picture too. Thanks for sharing-happy Christmas time!

  5. This was beautiful. So many years to built up to this point in your life. Your life is full but there is always room for more. Richness comes from the unexpected, and joy too. Blessings, Ruth!