December 22, 2012

The Jesus Stocking by Karen Edmisten

The Jesus stocking is something I came up with when Anne-with-an-e (now 19) was a little girl. I was looking for ways to stay focused on Jesus through Advent, rather than on all the  other trappings of the holiday season, delightful and fun though they are.

It's a simple stocking, and I just used fabric paint to add His name. Over the years, I thought of upgrading to a beautiful stocking, more worthy of our King, but on the other hand, I hope He's pleased with the simplicity.

What goes in the Jesus stocking? Whatever you like -- we've done it a couple of different ways.

As we do with our Thanksgiving Tree, every night at dinner, we each name something for which we're thankful, write it on small piece of paper, and put it in the stocking. On Christmas day (and in future years -- we save each year’s bunch of notes) it's fun to read all the blessings that were counted during Advent, from the littlest things (past examples include a tea party with Tigger and chocolate cookies), to grown-up concerns (such as being thankful that the car broke down in our driveway instead of twenty miles from home on a sub-zero day), to every-day-but-enormous joys (friendship, family, faith.) Here are some samples from years past:

Another idea for the Jesus stocking is to use it for corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Small sacrifices, kindnesses, or prayers are recorded and dropped in the stocking as gifts for Jesus. Kids can be encouraged to fill Jesus's stocking with gifts throughout Advent.

For much of Advent, the Jesus stocking is the only one hanging on the mantle (the small tree to the right is our Jesse Tree), reminding us that He is at the center of all celebration:

 Surrounded by our favorite Advent books and calendars, this place of honor for the King is a constant reminder that what we anticipate in this season of hope is not a gift, but the Gift: our Lord and Savior.

And though it may be too late to start a Jesus stocking for this Advent, you can always file the idea away for next year. Or, you can do a Jesus stocking during the Twelve Days of Christmas!

For lots more Advent ideas, visit my “No-Panic Advent” series of posts. Happy Eve of the Fourth Sunday of Advent!
Karen Edmisten is a Catholic, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom and a convert from atheism.  She and her wonderful husband and raising three children but are also the parents of five miscarried babies in Heaven.  She is the author of After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman's Companion to Healing and Hope, a book I personally have benefited from tremendously.  She is also the author of Through the Year with Mary, and The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and MaryAdditionally she has contributed to Sex, Style, & Substance by Hallie Lord, Atheist to Catholic: Stories of Conversion by Rebecca Cherico, and A Little Way of Homeschooling by Suzie Andres and her writing can be found across the internet at places like OSV, Catholic Digest, and Catholic Exchange.

For more posts on Advent traditions and reflections check out the Advent series.


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