“Absolutely not,” I declared with big eyes and eyebrows raised. That was the answer to my husband’s request for a University of Kentucky stocking a few years ago.

I looked him square in the eye and continued to shake my head.

I never just say “No” or “Absolutely not.” But this time was different. He was talking crazy! Everything in our home was decorated in the true Christmas colors: red and green.

“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 one.) But he wanted it to be with all the other stockings on the fireplace. He made a pouty face that usually works.

“I ALWAYS give in!” I whispered, where no one could hear. (There was a tug at my heart, but I ignored it.)

At Walmart a few days later, I came across the UK section. Wouldn’t you know they had a UK stocking right there, and it was lovely. With ginormous embroidered letters and white fur, if you were looking for a UK stocking, this would be the one you’d want. I thought I’d carry it around and just think about it.

If I bought it, I would look generous and giving; I’d be the bigger person, but I just wasn’t feeling it. The longer I held it, the more aggravated I got. The UK stocking was beautiful, 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!” but I bought it anyway.

The UK stocking had become a symbol of surrender. And I still didn’t want to budge! At home, I went to my closet to get my head on straight and get things in perspective. What was I thinking?! This was my OTHER HALF … the love of my life — besides Jesus! How important was it really that all my decorations match? Wasn’t this the time of giving? God didn’t say, “I’ve given so much already…” before He sent Jesus that first Christmas. He gave out of His unconditional love for you and me.

After church the next morning, I hung the stocking on the mantel. 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!

On Sunday night, he finally took a moment to sit on the couch and exhale. I rushed to the doorway to watch him. That’s when he saw it. He began with a long yelp and was up on his feet jumping up and down. He rushed to me in the doorway and shouted, “My STOCKING! You got it!” He was hopping back and forth. His face was red, and I thought I saw a tear in his eye. “I can’t believe you got it!” He carried on like UK had won another National Championship!

Lord, help me to remember what You have given me this Christmas and NOT what I have given!

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.