Today I went inside for a little break to see what everyone was up to. I walked inside and found my eldest son (13), busily typing away on the macbook pro in the living room. I wondered what he was so intent on.

I let him be and decided to chase a few little ones, playing “who can catch the sussa (pronounced “sue-saw” of course). Sussa is the random word my 3 year old invented as sort of a “fill in the blank”. It can mean whatever you want. The game is played by me chasing them down, tackling them, and tickling them  as I shout “Ha! I caught a real life Sussa”… it’s hilarious. At least for me.

Exhausted, I noticed my oldest had finished his computer project and was down in his room. I decided to pay a visit.

I walked in and found him putting away my sander. He’s been busy working on a gift for a family. He came up with the idea that he wanted to carve walking sticks for each of them. 7 in total, not a small task. He’s been busy nearly every day, carving intricate designs into the handles of these thick wooden dowels. Each one has been made with great care, following closely the sketches he had made of each handle previously.

Each carving was done using only a pocket knife, while sitting in a hard wooden chair hunched over a bath towel he’s thrown on the carpet in his bedroom to avoid making a mess. I’ve watched him carefully take his shavings outside to dispose of them.

He’s been doing this for several weeks now, and today he finished by carving a common symbol on the top of each walking stick.

To complete the project, he had typed up a note, which was laying on his bed. He said I could read it, and I was touched.

With his permission, I’ve posted it below.

Merry christmas! I hope you have been having a stellar holiday season!

I’m sure you all know the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, the place of their birth and heritage, to pay taxes. Right when they got there, baby Jesus was ready to be born! So Mary and Joseph had Jesus in a stable. Soon after the the christ child was born, an angel appeared to shepherds and told them to go and see baby Jesus. They did.

But, not too long after the birth of Christ, wise men in a far away land were searching the skies. They saw the star in the east, which as prophesied, meant the magnificent King of the jews, the Messiah, had come into the world.

Now, I’m sure these wise men had very busy lives. They probably had jobs to do, errands to run, appointments to make, and maybe wanted to go see that cool movie that just came out. But, through all that stuff to do, they left their city and traveled for days in the desert following the star. And they finally found baby Jesus and gave him gifts. But I think that the most important gift they gave him was their time. By sacrificing their time, I’m sure that Heavenly father was happy because although they were busy, they took time to seek his son.

The wise men probably had walking sticks, like these that I carved for you. Now, like each of your walking sticks, each of us has an exquisite and complicated life. But each stick is marked with a special symbol to signify your alliance as a family to seek Christ, Just as the wise men joined together and found him. I encourage you to take this christmas season and all the rest of the year to seek Jesus Christ as a family.

How insightful I thought it was, that the greatest gift we can give the Savior at Christmas time, or anytime, is that of OUR time. And what better way to emphasize his point than by spending so much of HIS time, creating an icon for this family to represent it all.

“For inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me” Matthew 25:40.

This Christmas season, I would simply echo the encouragement of my son, to find opportunities to give of yourself, to give of your time, and seek the Lord, at least in part, by serving others.

Merry Christmas,

Rusty

P.S.  Please share this story with others.

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