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Holiday gifts that keep giving

The holidays are over and compared to how I usually do, I thought I'd actually conquered the seasonal stress. Okay, so I bought cards and stamps, but never got them mailed. But that's one step better than last year, and it means I'm that much closer to getting it done next year.

In case you haven't guessed, I love knowing that God sent His only Son to the world, but I have never been able to catch the "magic" and warm glow of the festivities. I like them, I just never seem to be able to accomplish them. So, this year, when Christmas Eve arrived and the tree was up and completely decorated, the gifts had all been purchased and wrapped and my portion of the meal was cooked, I wanted to pat myself on the back. But I couldn't because I felt too uneasy. If all those things were done, and I wasn't stressing, then I must have forgotten something. Forgetting something is one thing. But suspecting you forgot something and not having any idea what it could be is totally another issue all together.

The first light bulb blinked later that evening when I was sitting at my parent's dinner table. Every year, my sons and I make a special birthday cake for Jesus, which we light candles on, sing "Happy Birthday," eat for breakfast on Christmas morning, and then take the remainder to the big family dinner later that afternoon. It's been a tradition ever since my 19-year-old was born. So, Christmas Eve, my sister-in-law, who has been eating healthy and losing weight, began thinking about what her dessert choices would be the next day, and casually asked what kind of cake we baked Jesus this year. I gave her a blank look. Birthday cake? Panic set in, and I turned to my sons, hoping they had an answer. But they just returned my questioning gaze with amused looks and shrugged shoulders, then shook their heads like they weren't surprised at all. Okay, the mystery of the forgotten something was solved. Or so I thought.

Yesterday, while cleaning my room, I picked up a plastic bag that was loaded with something, but I had no idea what it was. Inside was Forgotten Something II. I had made a nice little gift for each member of the choir at my church (I'm the choir director, so a gift of appreciation is really important) to give to them after the cantata. Well, you can start shaking your heads. There was a bag full of ??? (contents will remain unidentified until they reach their intended receivers). So, 2009 has arrived. And at the rate I'm going, the spirit of Christmas is going to last the whole year.

Web posted on Thursday, January 08, 2009

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