We try to make the season of Advent special. Last year we wrapped up many Christmas movies and placed them in a basket to be unwrapped each night. The year before that we all found a treasure each morning - usually something small like a pencil or a peppermint. Sometimes there are projects, sometimes interesting poems and songs. There are always devotionals that accompany our special time as a family each evening. This year during Advent each evening a member our family unwrapped a winter/Christmas book to read to the children. The books ranged from childhood favorites to wintry books the children received as gifts in years past, and of course included the story of Jesus' birth as well as the classic "Night Before Christmas", all read while pjs were on and all followed by our customary Advent devotion. There were several evenings where activity kept us late and we skipped the reading, but overall we were able to enjoy many touching, fun and whimsical stories. However, the book my husband chose to read on Christmas day itself touched me very deeply -- so much that I find myself still pondering the message, turning the story over and over again in my mind.
The story is called "The Story of the Other Wise Man" - or sometimes "The Fourth Wise Man" - and was written by Henry van Dyke circa 1896. (For a review, I've included a link to amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Story-Other-Wise-Henry-Dyke/dp/0345406958). There are so many lessons in this very short tale, the most important that we should seek Christ constantly, and that we will indeed find Him. I've marveled over the beauty found in this simple story -- how this wise man gave all he owned to bring treasures to the king -- and how he spent those treasures in other ways before finding Jesus at last.
I don't want to give away the entire story before anyone has had a chance to read it. Suffice it to say that it touched me in such a way that made me cry...for my own selfishness, for my own lack of deep faith at times, for my own thoughtlessness at times when dealing with others. I have been really praying in the last few days that this lesson of faith and love will stick with me.
I really hope and pray you will get the opportunity to read this precious story, and that it will touch your heart as thoroughly as it has touched my own. May God richly bless you in 2009!