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I understand that I’m not on your list, or anyone’s.
Take me anyway.
I realize I don’t fit right, run both too large and too small,
break easily and bolt through batteries like heartbeats.
Make me yours, despite it all.
Take me without bright paper or bows,
without tinsel or tags to distract from what is surely
not as dear as myrrh and nowhere near gold.
I’ve soiled the cloth you wove me of, that infantile innocence
that shone from my newly opened eyes.
Spin me anew.
May this white Christmas describe the state of my soul.
May I be the present under the tree.
May I be what is wanted:
fresh hay, animal heat, the company of shepherds,
pure and clean as a newborn star
nodding “yes” above a manger.

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holidays 2011 017There’s an unusual custom that, I believe, only happens in my town in New Jersey, and it may seem strange to some of you, dear readers.

Every year around Christmas, we hear the sound of police and fire truck sirens, continuously blaring for hours, several nights in a row. At first, all of the neighbors think, what the heck happened? There must be a serious fire in town, with that many sirens roaring for that long. Hope everyone’s okay!

But one by one, we realize, oh yeah! It’s Santa, sitting atop the fire truck, rolling slowly down the block and wishing us all a “Merry Christmas!” over the loudspeaker. Our dedicated firefighters and police officers accompany him, honking and waving. Just generally sending boisterous and blazing holiday wishes our way.

It strikes me that this is a particularly New Jersey way of sharing good cheer during the holidays: loud, intrusive, rolling through the neighborhood like we own the place, yet full of good cheer!

It’s the way it’s always been around here, but sometimes I wonder, how does everyone else do the holidays? I’ve always imagined that, in other, more mellow states, Christmas must be low-key and tasteful. Mistletoe hanging, fireplace burning, carols playing. Maybe some egg nog pouring. 

Of course, at the heart of it all is the peace that passes all understanding. With all the wrapping and rushing, the traffic and tinsel, it’s easy to forget that God’s love is the gift that we’re honoring at this time of year.

Well, no matter how you and yours celebrate, here’s wishing your holidays are filled with warmth, laughter, and loved ones!

Merry Christmas, All!

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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