Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family.
This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive wrapping paper.
As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.
Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!"
As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.
But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!"
The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full."
The father was crushed.
He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.
With Christmas right around the corner, it might be a little too easy to miss the incredible love that God has for you by looking in all the wrong places. The beauty of the season is not to be found in the shopping malls, or the TV sets. Rather it is discovered when you can finally comprehend the absolute love of God, found wrapped in the manger. Like the father in the story that initially missed the moment of grace provided by his daughter, we can too overlook the moment that changed history if we do not see the baby in the manger.
Rev. Anthony Kladitis