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The peri-pubescent 13 year old standing in a bathrobe.  Head draped in a towel.  A stringy piece of rope trying its best to hold it all together.  The side of the refrigerator carton was horizontal, transformed into the silhouette of a camel.   The Christmas Concert parents crammed into the darkened church-school basement hall, gawking with admiration at their precious little performing royalties.    One third of the traveling kings was over-whelmed with freaking-out panic.  Throat in paralysis.  The solo of the king was so low it didn’t even exist. That king was incapable of bearing a gift.  Be it gold.  Be it frankincense.  Be it myrrh.  Or be it an emerging mystery deep within his very being.

The memories of  "... over the bridge and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go ..."  The near insanity of the bearing of the gifts of commerce.  Gifts of big toys.  Gifts of puppy dog tails.  Gifts to warm the body.  Sometimes gifts to warm the soul.  Gifts to tickle the sweet tooth.  Gifts to weight the anchor-legacy of the hips.  Gifts gaily wrapped with impeccable precision by the Martha’s of the world.  Gifts haphazardly encased with the bulging paper and sticky tape of the gift-wrapping-challenged yet spiritually-astute Mary’s of the world.  And the memory of a gift that was slowly becoming unwrapped.

The memories of a massive sanctuary.  The combined choirs.  The stressed soloists.  The brilliance of the Casavant pipe organ.  The thunderous dynamics of "Wonderful."  "Counselor," "Prince of Peace," "Like Sheep," "Gone Astray," Hallelujah," "Trumpets Raging," and that antiphonal chorus of "Hallelujah Amen."  The feeling of the vibrations of the sounds of the gifts, of the glory, of the inspiration, of the orgasmic power of the gift of "The Messiah" in whatever dimension one may be able to recognize and comprehend.  And the bearing of a gift to humanity.  And the gift to a college student that was terrible to bear.

And like the little child, angry with Santa Clause, because the expected gift did not make it down the chimney, the recipients of  another special gift can be angry, frustrated, hurt, exasperated, bitter.  The gift received was denied, stomped on, buried, hidden, cursed, shamed, damned, jammed into the closet with the crazy aunt – but unlike the crazy aunt that everyone knows is there and just ignores, this gift becomes brilliantly invisible.  And for some, a gift impossible to bear.

But in time, what was brilliantly invisible becomes brilliant.  Something changes.  Be it space, or time, or circumstances, or society, or religions, or family or the laws of the institutions of the land.  The spiritual and life journey moves on.  And a gift becomes more bearable.

And for some, in the stillness of the season, the gift can be truly received.  It no longer is bearing to bear the gift.  Not only bearable, but recognizable for the value it truly is.  No gold.  No frankincense.  No myrrh.  But to be chosen by the Soul-Maker to be the fiduciary of a rare and special gift indeed.  

And the ability to pray the words – "Thank You, for selecting me as a custodian of this precious gift."  

And hark to you angels and herald it to the world!  "The gift given to me is the gift of gay."

Originally posted to steamkettle on Fri Dec 24, 2010 at 12:21 PM PST.

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