This Christmas, ask for coal

The traditions are wonderful this time of year.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Elf on a shelf. Seven fishes. And every kid’s nightmare – coal in the stocking!

The tradition has gone down through the ages that Santa Claus is going to come down your chimney while you are sleeping and – if you are good – put gifts in your stocking. But, if you are bad, you will find a stocking full of coal.

But what is wrong with that?

It sounds like Santa Claus likes giving children the opportunity for second chances. The gifts that the good kids get are nice rewards for how well behaved they were since last Christmas. But what is the bad kid supposed to do with a lump of coal? The truth is, coal is a much better gift. If you hand the bad child a piece of paper, he could use the coal to draw a beautiful picture for someone, or he could write a letter to his siblings about how much he loves them, and another letter to his parents, apologizing for all the mischief he had gotten into. Then, he could take the coal outside, and sitting with the less fortunate, he could use it to build a fire, bringing warmth to those abandoned at Christmas.

This temporary punishment is actually providing the resources to turn things around, to conversion, to metanoia. So, if you wake up Christmas morning and find a lump of coal, reflect on why you got it, and use it. Remember, the more pressure you bring to it, the more you will end up holding a diamond!

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