“Absolutely not,” I declared with big eyes and eyebrows raised. That was the answer to my husband’s request for a UK stocking this year. I looked him square in the eye and continued to shake my head.
My boldness was a big deal for me. “Yes, dear” is my usual response to my other half’s questions. I never just say “No” or “Absolutely not”. I’m NOT the boss of him, nor do I pretend to be. But this time was different. He was talking crazy! Everything in our home was decorated in the true Christmas colors in my heart-red and green. Not silver and gold, teal, brown, lime green, blue or white…but red and green. Red, for the color of Jesus’ blood and green, for eternal life. (I’ve researched its origin.).
“I let you decorate early,” he mumbled. “I still don’t have the tree up,” was my reply.
“I let you put up those Christmas curtains I don’t like,” he continued. “I’ll take them down,” I finished.
We were at a stalemate. No way was I giving in on this! I told him he could put a UK stocking up in our UK room. (Yes, we have an entire room decorated in blue and white with prints, posters, light switches, etc.) In fact, that would be perfect. But, he wanted his UK stocking to be with all the other stockings on the fireplace. He made a pouty face that works 364 other days of the year. “Sad story,” I said with a pretend frown.
We laughed about it later, but it stayed on my mind. “I ALWAYS give in!” I whispered, where no one could hear. (There was a tug at my heart but I ignored it.) He mentioned it a couple of other times but I brushed it off.
At Wal-Mart a few days later, I went to look at the UK material just in case a stocking needed to be made for the UK room. Holy smokes-it was expensive! Too bad…
I moved to the Christmas decorations looking for something else when suddenly a light shone and angel music sounded from one of the Christmas aisles-just kidding…I came across the UK section. Wouldn’t you know they had a UK stocking right there and it was lovely-perfect, actually. It had ginormous embroidered letters and white fur. Seriously, if you were looking for a UK stocking, this would be the one you’d want. I couldn’t ever have made a better one. I took it down to examine it. I thought I’d carry it around and just think about it.
I looked for some other things on my list. Each time I put something in the buggy, the UK stocking caught my eye. If I bought it, I would really be the winner in this disagreement. I would look generous and giving. Yep, I’d be the bigger person…but I just wasn’t feeling it today. The longer I held it, the more aggravated I got. The UK stocking was beautiful-made of velvet, but it didn’t match a thing. “I ALWAYS give in!” I said again. I looked at the embroidered letters and thought, “U Kan’t have a UK stocking on the fireplace!” (Pretty dumb, huh?) I bought the foul thing anyway.
By the time I got home I was in a snit. I didn’t want my husband to know! I went straight to my closet to “straighten up” some stuff. I had to get a hold of myself. I was being childish. I prayed for the Lord to give me peace and be the wife I needed to be. Deep breath, pasted on smile…out of the closet I came.
In Sunday School after our lesson, I cautioned our couples as we are all headed into the busiest time of the year. We will be physically exhausted and financially drained. I warned them to not let “issues” or little things become big, causing rifts and bad feelings toward each other. I told them we had been having an “issue” at the Reed household. I made them promise they wouldn’t tell. Everyone shook their heads with solemn faces. I pulled the UK stocking out of my Wal-Mart bag. I told my shameful story of how important it had been for my decorations to match. Instead of giving in, my frustration had begun to fester. The UK stocking had become a symbol for all the things I had submitted to in the past! (I’m not proud of my behavior. I just hoped they’d learn from my mistake!) I told them I was going to hang up the stocking after church and would let them know what happened.
After church that morning, I hung the stocking as promised right on the mantel. It was so bright it practically throbbed. The blue totally clashed and the white fur and letters glowed. I waited expectantly to see my beloved’s response. He came in and out of the room three times and didn’t notice a thing! Once, he nearly brushed up against it when he came in to talk to me.
On Sunday night, he finally took a moment to sit on the couch and exhale. I rushed to the doorway to watch him. And that was when he saw it. He began with a long yell. “Annnnnioooo!” he bellowed. (“Annio’ is the Polish word for angel. He’s called me that for years.) He was up on his feet now jumping up and down. He rushed to me in the doorway and doubled over shouting, “My STOCKING! You got it!” He was hopping back and forth between me and the mantel. “I can’t believe you got it!” His face was red and I thought I saw a tear in his eye.
It was awesome! He carried on like UK had won the National Championship again. I was so glad I gave in!
The UK stocking is still a symbol. Instead of “U Kan’t have the stinking stocking!” I think of it as: “U Kan do all things through Christ!”