The Empty Box

The Empty Box is a true story I wrote several years ago, changing the names for privacy.  Personally experiencing The Empty Box blessed in many ways: the most prominent was the analogy to the first Christmas for me.  I have shared this story many times in different venues.  The miraculous birth of a Savior, Jesus, was the greatest gift of love God gave a lost world without hope.


Kaydie crunched through the parking lot snow, anticipation quickening her steps as she entered cosmetology school.  The chemical odor of perm solution and acrylic nail filler overrode the cinnamon candle burning at the reception desk.  Passing the few frugal clients in the waiting area, Kaydie hopefully peeked into the gaily decorated box opposite the reception desk.  Disappointment quickly trampled her hopes.  Empty.  Pride kept her burning eyes dry, pain hidden behind the familiar comfort of tough attitude.  “Hey, Lindsey, you didn’t ask to use my hairspray,” Kaydie chided in false bravado.

Donning her apron, she extended her hand in an introductory greeting to her first client, a fragile, blue-haired lady wanting a cut and roll-set.  Kaydie was relieved her client’s limited hearing released her from cheerful small talk.  As her shears clicked, Kaydie drifted in worried thought.  Adam was deployed to Iraq in September.  She smiled at the memory of their daughter’s birth in May.  Adam was there, proud, supportive, and happy.  Amanda Rose was now six months of gurgling joy and rolling inquisitiveness.  Defiantly, she swallowed the lump in her throat at the inadequacy of digitally captured memories.  Adam wouldn’t be home until next September.

Amanda’s first Christmas…without her daddy.  Adam’s Christmas request was for a taste of home to share with his battalion buddies: microwave popcorn, magazines, videos, games, hard candy, cookies, beef jerky.  With the enthusiasm of her love, Kaydie carefully decorated a collection box with Christmas paper and attached the troop wish list.  She brought it to school yesterday, hopeful for a gift-giving bounty from patrons and classmates.

With each passing day, Kaydie looked into an empty box.  In the lonely quiet of night, her fear and despair released in hot tears.  Empty box.  Empty dreams.  Empty promises.  Empty hope.  Empty life.

Kaydie arrived at cosmetology school two days before Thanksgiving.  The box needed to be mailed in three days to arrive in Iraq by Christmas.  Emotionally defeated, it was impossible to cloak her heart in her familiar disguise of indifference.

Glancing in the box, her heart lurched.  It was full!  In an exhilarated rush, she examined the contents: assorted toiletries, candy, gum, cookies, popcorn, movies, books, magazines, and games.  Kaydie’s heart overflowed with hope.  The empty box was filled.


Joseph could see discomfort and fatigue in Mary’s eyes, intensified by their long journey to Bethlehem.  Finding no vacancy at the inns, shelter was offered to them in a stable.  In the quiet of night, amid the scent of hay and the soft nocturnal sounds of the stable’s occupants, Jesus was born.  Wrapping Him in swaddling clothes, this precious baby was laid in an empty manger.

“For God so loved the world.” Jesus, God’s promise of hope and life, filling an empty world.

“And the Angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”  ~Luke 2:10-11.

Copyright © Debra A. Richardson  


~ by Debbie Richardson on December 25, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: