On Christmas Eve, i volunteered to be the "inn keeper" at a homeless shelter in the church in town that hosts the nativity scene in its front yard. I took the 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift, and that seems exactly the way Christmas Eve should be celebrated. I felt quite joyful, even though a few of the men sleeping on the floor rather smelled like a manger all to themselves.
I drove home through a pink cloud and powder blue sky dawn. But on the way i stopped at the branch of a local bank (in a local building materials store) that opens at 7:00. I believe i was their first customer of the newborn day.
"Take a poinsettia home with you," Jane the teller said. "We're giving them away to our first 25 customers."
"Perfect," i said. "We don't yet have a poinsettia at home."
'Tis the season of giving and receiving. Receiving the gift of the other person's generosity.
I would not have chosen a peach-colored poinsettia named DaVinci. But the object is not the point.
Graciously receiving a gift allows the giver to experience their own joy. And that too is a gift.