Thinking back to Christmas morning....In this case the presents were not something I asked for or would have even thought to ask for. It had been a full and bustling Christmas Eve and Christmas day overflowing with happy times with family and joyous conversations. We live in a small ranch house and the common area consists of a smallish kitchen/dining room combination and a living room. When that space is filled with a large Christmas tree, 7 people and 2 neurotic dogs stepping outside for some calm and fresh air can be a refreshing respite whether anything noteworthy is happening in the yard or not. This morning as the dark gave way to early light I was expecting to see the various sparrow species, cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches and woodpeckers that are here all the time and had good reason to hope for the flocks of pine siskens that have been visiting lately. But in addition to the familiar birds, I was greeted with the calls of a handful of cedar waxwings, sitting high up in the honey locust. Whether they stopped to eat at the crabapple tree before leaving again I do not know.
The most surprising outside gift of the day, however, was the presence of what I have called "The Christmas Pheasant". We have had pheasants in the yard now and then over the years, but never one so bright and beautiful and never on Christmas day. After all the kids had left for their next destinations, and my husband the same, I was in the process of taking the leftover wrappings out to the trash when a large male pheasant scooted away from me, just 15 ft or so from the back door. He puttered about the yard for the next hour or so and then sailed over the fence and was gone, leaving nothing but a delighted memory of his visit...such a glorious and unexpected present on this day of days. Immediately words from the old hymn (and remembered in the Godspell rendition) sprang to mind.
"All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above. So, thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all His love." A fitting reminder for heading into the new year and all it brings.