Tis the season to be gloomy?


The Christmas holiday season is supposed to be the most beautiful time of the year, as we surround ourselves with family and friends, amid cheerful songs, festive parties, gifts and good wishes. Regrettably, far too many folks do not agree with the traditional lyrics of Deck the Halls (“‘Tis the season to be joyful”), as they see it as “‘Tis the season to be gloomy.”

These people are lonely and sad for a host of reasons. Perhaps you are one of them, as I have been in the past, or maybe you know someone who does not look forward to the holiday season.

Nonetheless, I argue that these lonesome and dejected people might get the joy back into Christmas if they accept the “Golden Shoebox”, as depicted in the following heart-warming and inspirational story.

There was a man who worked exceptionally hard just to keep food on the table for his wife and five-year-old daughter, Lucy.

A few days before Christmas, Lucy’s father punished her for using the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. The curmudgeon became more upset on Christmas Eve when he witnessed Lucy sneak more of the paper to decorate a shoebox that she placed under their Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It is worth noting that Lucy was not embarrassed about having the most pathetic looking tree in the neighborhood.

Perhaps it is best to hear it from Lucy; “The size and shape of my tree does not matter. It is a tree just like the others and it needs rescued so that it can have a home for Christmas. That is what matters.” Therefore, she cared for and nurtured the tree with all the love and attention that she could muster.

On Christmas morning, filled with excitement, Lucy presented the beautifully wrapped shoebox to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!” When he opened the shoebox, it was empty, and he became annoyed. “Don’t you know that when you give someone a gift, there is supposed to be something inside the package?” With tears rolling down her cheeks, Lucy looked up to her father and whispered, “Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.” The father was devastated. He fell on his knees, put his arms around his only child, and begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary resentment. Lucy said, “Daddy, please don’t be sad. Of course, I forgive you. You are my dad, and I love you so much.”

During the spring of the following year, a car accident took Lucy’s life. Lucy’s dad became increasingly lonely and depressed. Although his daughter forgave him, he could not excuse himself for his deplorable behavior the fateful Christmas morning. One sleepless night, he kept thinking of Lucy’s beautifully wrapped golden Christmas shoebox.

The next morning, he asked his wife if she saved the shoebox. “Of course I did. It is in the attic. Would you like me to get it for you?” With tears pouring from his eyes, he nodded his head, as he was unable to speak. Lucy’s father now keeps this old shoebox by his bed as a remembrance of Lucy and the undeserving forgiveness that his daughter gave him.

Whenever he becomes discouraged, angry, or needs to forgive someone, he opens the box, removes the imaginary kiss and remembers the unconditional love of his beautiful child. Lucy’s father lived the rest of his life, not as a curmudgeon, but as a joyful, grateful and understanding person.

If we stop and think about Lucy’s invisible gift, do we not already have the most precious invisible gift that is filled with kisses and unconditional love? The gift is from God, who loved the world that he gave us his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. However you choose to celebrate the season, may your holidays be merry and bright, and may all your wishes come true. Enjoy the fun, the frolic, the festivities and the friendships, because this really is “the most wonderful time of the year.”