The Empty Box

“Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you?”

Music of the season poured out of the radio and filled the space in my car. The lyrics to the song felt in my heart as I drove home from a busy day of shopping.

Years ago I was trying to maintain some sort of balance with four young kids at home. Decorations to put up. Parties to attend. Gifts to purchase. And did I remember the teacher gifts?

The holiday was consuming me. My bones were weary. And the spirit of Christmas was buried beneath. Lost.

I let tired tears roll down my cheeks as the music and words defined my feelings.

Balance during Christmas? No such thing. My focus was on one thing.

Keeping up.

Did I have enough for the kids? And was everything equal? Oh I need to lay it all out and take another look. Cookies to bake for the neighbors. Gingerbread houses to decorate. Christmas cards to address and mail. That blasted strand of lights on the tree that won't work. And exactly how many are coming to Christmas dinner?

I needed my own set of elves to make this Christmas happen. A service I would gladly have paid for.

Every morning little fingers anxiously pulled the next ornament out of the pocket on the Christmas tree advent calendar. The anticipation of the magical day was almost too much. More decorations on this tree meant fewer days until …

Christmas morning I heard a tiny whisper next to my bed.

“Mom! Santa Claus came! It’s Christmas!”

My sleep deprived eyes met the bright, shiny ones peeking over my pillow. And the happy, gleaming face awakened me from a not-quite-long-enough winter’s nap.

I would make this day happen.

For them.

Squeals of delight filled the home as wrapping paper was torn and tossed. Toys, trains, and tractors. Dolls, dresses and DVD’s.

Success. I had pulled it off. I took a deep breath and patted myself on the back.

“Wait mom – there’s one more gift. It’s for you.”

The gift was delivered to my lap. Those same bright shiny eyes waiting. Watching me.

I carefully unwrapped the crumpled little package. Inside was a small box. Little fingers had decorated the box with squares of bright colored paper and some glitter. I carefully lifted the lid.


“It’s not empty,” said the bright shining eyes. “It’s filled with love. And it never runs out.”

I felt the tears fall again. Happy tears.


A scene long ago in a manger. He would set the perfect example. As we embrace and share love with others, we become more like Him.

It is a life-long journey. Regardless of how difficult the path. To find and feel love. And to give to others.

Where are you Christmas?

I found it.

In a little empty box.