unexpected gifts

I've been doing a lot of bellyaching lately -- and during the holidays no less, which has probably landed me on The Naughty List. (Santa, if you could just dump that semi-truck load of coal on the side of our house that would be great.) It's been a trying couple of months, to say the least... and I admit, it's been hard to set aside the trials and shift gears into "Merry and Bright."

But this week I've received some unexpected gifts that have rekindled my holiday spirit:
  • Sang Christmas carols for the opening and closing hymns at church Sunday, something I look forward to all year long. We even sang one for a rest hymn -- bonus!
  • Gathered at a neighborhood eatery to have lunch with girlfriends, something I rarely get to do these days.
  • Received a disco ball from a coworker for Christmas. It's multi-colored. It rotates. It's freaking awesome. Combined with my ever-running space heater, my office has now been officially declared a DISCO INFERNO. (Woot woot!)
  • Had a chance meeting with a dear friend I haven't seen in months, but whom I think about all the time. After 30 minutes of chatting, laughing and hugging, we set a lunch date for next week that, as far as I'm concerned, could only be postponed by Armageddon.
  • In spite of a small bite of this (ahem) and a tiny taste of that (ahem, ahem!)... the scale, for the most part, has been kind. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!
  • I was able to sit down and read my two favorite magazines (Real Simple and O) from beginning to end. Enough down time to read two magazines in one week, one right after the other?! This also qualifies as a Bonafide Holiday Miracle.
  • Monday I took the day off and was home baking... around lunchtime there was a knock on my door. There stood the four little boys who live next door -- ages 3, 5, 7 & 9, all bundled up and cute as can be -- who quickly launched into Jingle Bells (the unabridged version), followed by We Wish You a Merry Christmas. I was so surprised but so happy to see them, and before long I was singing right along with them. I gave them each a fresh-baked cookie and off they went to the next house, smiling and waving goodbye.

On a Monday afternoon, right there on my doorstep.... herald angels singing. It simply DOES NOT get any merrier than that.

May we all find joy in the unexpected gifts this season has to offer... the ones that take us by surprise and, hopefully, take root in our hearts. Merry Christmas!

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