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Gifts

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					by: Cory L. Kemp

Ordinary places are filled with Christmas magic today. The grocery store was buzzing with
activity early this afternoon. A full parking lot previewed bustling aisles of shoppers intent on
filling their carts, and wishing each other," Happy Holidays," as they maneuvered among the
festive displays and enticing scents of the season. The post office was the picture of calm. Most
people have already sent their packages, avoiding last minute lines and late gift arrivals. The post
office staff were serene, content to be almost done with helping people ship boxes of love and
thoughtfulness around the world. My local coffee shop usually is filed to the brim with rushed,
short-tempered, tight-lipped people who just want to keep moving. Not so today. Today, the
coffee shop was half empty, but those who waited in line chatted easily with one another, waited
patiently for their orders to be taken, and expressed holiday greetings to one and all.

Even though most of the gift sending is completed, and the gift wrapping will commence through
dawn's breaking light on Christmas morning, these simple pleasures of community that reveal
themselves in these days around Christmas are my favorite gifts.

As a child growing up in the Midwest, this eve of Christmas Eve would be the night my family
would pile into our Chevrolet sedan to view the neighborhoods elegantly decorated with
thousands of lights, and a few Santas and snowmen thrown in for good measure. Some homes
appeared to have professional assistance in their displays, others shared a simple approach in a
wreath-framed window or a garland-wrapped porch railing. All of them were beautiful, each a
gift unto itself. When we came home we feasted on popcorn and hot chocolate while watching
old holiday movies. Tonight I am walking through my neighborhood, which is filled with
beautiful decorations, and will come back home for popcorn and hot chocolate, and see what the
television has to offer from the old holiday classics. These are the gifts that keep on giving.

My holiday CD collection is limited in scope, but deep in tradition. There are special songs and
hymns that evoke memories of past Christmases, and some I have forgotten during the year that
surprise and delight me. I feel as though I have personal, in-house carolers at my disposal
through the whole twelve days of Christmas. Blended with cookie scents and phone
conversations with loved ones between here and Canada, the homeyness of Christmas fills my
heart and soul.

Each of our holiday celebrations includes unique features and special memories, rekindled and
relived each year. While I pause here to recall my own, I also cherish the tangible unity, the
sense of peaceful anticipation that is gently easing its way forward to our doorsteps. God With
Us is about to arrive. Welcome.

This article was posted on December 27, 2005

				
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