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Two gifts for you

Two gifts for you on this week of the winter solstice and Christmas. A Christmas story by UU minister Rev. Frank Rivas and a beautiful choral piece from Morten Lauridsen.

May you find peace and joy in the coming week.

A Cautionary Christmas Tale – by Rev. Frank Rivas

My little sister, Renee, was ten years younger than I. When she was in kindergarten, I considered her to be the most obnoxious child on the planet.

So, I decided to get her a lump of coal for Christmas. I know that people generally consider it Santa’s responsibility to give lumps of coal to bad little boys and girls, but I had learned over the years not to trust Santa’s judgment. I’d seen it over and over again; the old man went easy on little kids.

So the responsibility fell to me. I searched the yellow pages, went to the nearest coal yard, picked out an exceptionally large chunk, wrapped it nicely in a box with a bow, and placed it under the Christmas tree.

Our family encouraged recipients to lift, shake, and guess at the contents as soon as a gift was under the tree. Renee was fascinated. What gift could weigh so much?

By our Christmas morning tradition, the gifts were sorted into five piles; then, one at a time, going around the circle as many times as necessary, we opened our gifts for everyone to see.

Renee opened mine first. As she unwrapped ribbon, paper, and box, her excitement grew. My excitement grew too; the moment of reckoning was at hand. From her first glance at the coal --- she loved it. She screamed with delight and hugged me profusely.

How was I to know that only a week earlier, in her kindergarten class, she had learned to grow colorful crystals on coal? How was I to know that this would be her favorite gift?

There’s a moral to this story, my friends. Watch out for this season. There’s a spirit in the air that can turn even the most vindictive thoughts into good deeds.

And a beautiful song for you for the solstice .

Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on This Shining Night”. Click HERE to listen.

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