(Think you’ve got this blog series’ introduction memorized yet? Let’s see if we can recite it, word for word. All together, now!)

A few years ago, I wrote a short Christmas story in which (nutshell version) fifteen-year-old Al Fischer spends the holiday enthusiastically telling his family everything he loves about the Christmas season.

By purist coincidence (or not…), Al and his author have similar ideas about Christmas. And he’ll be pleased to know that I’ve decided to commemorate our mutual obsession here on Ever On Word by dedicating a series of blog posts to The Top 10 Reasons Christmas Rocks My World.

* * *

#5: Gifts (Getting Them)

            Popping awake at the first spidery crack of dawn. Dashing headlong down the stairs, or perhaps just down the hall. Sliding into a brightly-lit, evergreen home plate, because you are ready to score, and to score big. For many, this is the highlight of Christmas – the point of Christmas – what Christmas means to them, actual reason–shmeason. Quite honestly, even Child Danielle more or less felt this way. (“Happy birthday, Jesus! Now where are my presents?!”)

            Sure, it’s more blessed to give; we’ve covered that. But let us not be so maniacally virtuous that we eschew the joy of getting, for that would gyp two parties of very great pleasure – giver and getter both.

            Last post, I reminisced about one of my favorite gifts ever given. Now for a look back on one of my favorite gifts ever received.

            Once upon a time (a couple months ago), in a land faraway (also known as my living room, which we actually call the “big TV room”, but that’s beside the point), I was celebrating my 23rd birthday with my parents, the sister who wasn’t at “Nutcracker” ballet rehearsal, and my BFFAEAE (best friend forever and ever and ever…) by opening aforesaid BFFAEAE’s snazzily-wrapped, very heavy present. Turns out that the box’s weight was due to its containing the deepest desire of my heart. …Apart from international fame as a bestselling author (which would not necessarily be heavy). …And the materiality-slash-availability of my tailor (whose weight we’ll politely leave out of this). …And superpowers (which might or might not be heavy, dependent on the form my power took).

            That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: It was a chain-mail shirt.

            For the sake of context, let it be known that I’ve been lusting after chain-mail since before I hit my twenties. Part of my annual Renaissance Faire tradition had been to stare with blatant yearning at the assemblage of metal links on display in one of the vending areas devoted to the glorious stuff. I wanted so badly to don the shiny protective gear and feel like Aragorn son of Arathorn (what “Lord of the Rings” fan wouldn’t?), but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on such an impractical item. (If only I had a legion of Uruk-hai to battle, but nooooo.) So no chain-mail for me. Until Tirzah hooked me up.

            And did I mention she gave me a hand-sewn cape, too? ‘Cause she did. ‘Cause she’s an angel.

            There was a good deal of grateful carrying-on, that day. Squealing, cheering, whimpering… I’m a little surprised there weren’t actual tears of joy. I went around in my twenty-pound shirt (and cape, and my minstrel beret) for the rest of the afternoon and evening, quickly-wearied shoulder muscles be darned. Every few minutes, I was forced to announce in a strained whisper to the world, “I have a chain-mail shirt.” The world was happy for me. Tirzah got hugged a lot, and I suffered her to poke my arm and beat me up because, what the hey? I had a chain-mail shirt!

            And that, my friends, is gift-getting ecstasy at its most gift-getting ecstatic. I guess every now and then, receiving can be pretty blessed, too.

            Anyone else want to relive the huge hurrah of getting something that blew your mind? The comment section awaits you!

PerGoSeeMo Psalm 17

Psalm 17. Psalms 50:8-14

            You don’t really need another song.

You’ve had more throughout the ages

Than any but you could count –

From the sorrowfully substandard,

To the best Man has to offer,

To the “holy, holy, holy” from your hosts of heavenly seraphs.

            And surely any music you made –

A Holy Trinity trio,

Or a symphony from nothing –

Would reduce all man- and angel-kind to weeping,

Could their lesser ears discern it.

            What have I but words already written,

Melodies already strung,

Harmonies used over and over

Since the dawn of chords?

Sing him a new song” indeed.

            New to me, the song may be,

Slowly discovered, line by line,

A lyrical adventure…

Its surprise on me only.

            For your knowledge transcends silly things like time.

You knew the poetry I’d craft

While I’d yet to be crafted in the womb.

It’s all “been there, read that” for you;

Yours truly, last to know, as always.

            What to get the God who has it all?

You said, “I’ll take a ‘thank you’.”

            Thank you, then, with all my heart.

I’ll gift you with my gratitude.

I’ll wrap your praises up in verse,

And give it all my human best;

Present it with an eager smile

And eyes that shine with hoping that you’ll like it.

            And you’ll take it with gentle hands,

Exclaiming over the intent,

And add my scrap to the display on your divine refrigerator,

Loving gift for giver’s sake,

As those with children do.

            Oh, you.

            “Oh, you.”

            And it was then she re-knew she was precious.