Merry Christmas Eve Gift
Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn, I know that either my Mother, Sister or Cousins, Holly and Craig, will wake me with our age old “Merry Christmas Eve Gift” tradition. It’s a game of who tells who first “Merry Christmas Eve Gift,” and the winner, well, they basically hold the bragging rights of being the “first” to share their excitement of Christmas for an entire year.
It sounds silly, but, friends, it’s the first gift of Christmas for my family. I think it was my grandmother, Katherine “Maw” Nalls who started this tradition. She was a sweet, warm, deeply spiritual human being, and hearing those words from her on the other end of that early morning phone call was indeed a highlight for all those who loved her. It makes me think of fruitcake and persimmons and ice cycles on Christmas trees and warm homes and even warmer hearts. Merry Christmas Eve Gift is the true spirit of Christmas for my family.
This Christmas and every Christmas I’m overwhelmed by the spirit of the season, the joy unfurled in the first 25 days of December and the kindness that comes from hearts to love, help and heal others. Sometimes that kindness is extended to our own people. Other times, it’s extended to those we don’t even know but, in our spirits, deeply care for. That kindness must be one of the greatest gifts we can give the birthday boy, Jesus. I mean, seriously, if I knew all this was about me, I’d be doing an eternal happy dance complete with the tootsie roll and electric slide. And, you know, I’m old school, so I might even throw down a little cardboard and break dance.
So, here’s to the “happy dance” that our Savior must be doing on His day. However, I’d like to campaign for that to continue every day. Extending our focus on Him, softening our hearts to people we know or have never met, helping others in need and spreading JOY like a MOFO. We should make it our business every single day to celebrate our Savior in our lives and, not so much by what we say, but by what we live. Is anybody with me? As I write this blog, I’m called to action myself. More love and peace, less disdain and strife (in the name of Jesus).
From JL PARISH to you and your family, we wish you ALL JOY on Christmas and every day.
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