I write this on Christmas morning, 2016. The smells of Cuban coffee and roasting squash, garlic, onions, peppers and mushrooms emanate from my kitchen as I prepare my specialty, yellow squash casserole, which will be my contribution to the Christmas dinner later this afternoon at my sister’s.
It’s a beautiful day here in Central Florida with temperatures in the low 80s, sunny and breezy. Out in the yard the Christmas cactus are blooming and the perfume of last night’s Datura blossoms lingers in the air.
The table is full of the Christmas envelopes I will deliver later today with notices of the donations I’ve made to a Nicaraguan base community in the names of my niece and nephews along with a little mad money for them to spend. Everyone else gets checks and homemade cards. I love my family but I just can’t do Consumermas anymore. Andy’s presents of new towels and rugs, practical gifts for our household, will be opened when he returns Friday from his trip to see his family in Augusta.
My Dad’s present is a couple of sets of Hanes undershirts. Lately he’s taken to leaving his shirt gaping open when he goes out in public and his current tee-shirts are pretty worn out. He never wants any presents but this one is practical and badly needed.
I’ll spend the afternoon with my Dad, now nearing his 90th birthday, his 94 year old sister, Aunt Delphine whom we brought down from Tallahassee to be with us, my husband, and both my siblings and their families. Dinner is at 3. It will be a wonderful day.
This morning I awoke in my comfortable bed next to my loving husband and two dogs in this magical home surrounded by my beloved jungle. As I came to consciousness I realized how very fortunate my life has been. The vast majority of the world's population has never known the privileges of this life we call modest and take for granted.
Amidst all the other gifts of my life, I have always been blessed with the priceless gift of a loving family with strong values. I owe them much for all of who I have become. Through the many other storms of my life, their loving presence has always been a constant, a solid rock to which I have often clung.
There is no gift that could compare, particularly not one that would fit under a tree.
And so this morning, I offer my thanks to a generous, gracious G-d from whom all blessings flow on this day we remember the gift to our world of Jesus of Nazareth.
Harry Scott Coverston
If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things worth considering do not come in sound bites.
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. – Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Wisdom of the Ages, Commentary on Micah 6:8