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I received this e-mail from my best friend who pastors in Oklahoma. He received it from a member of his congregation.


I just wanted to let you know how excited I am about the changes in Christmas plans. I would love to be at the pampering night for the ladies but we will be in PA from the 10th to 17th seeing our little twins. I thought it would have been a good time for me to do some haircuts. We have signed up for some other things though.

I would like to share with you what we have done in our family for several years and it has become our favorite part of our family Christmas get-together.

We asked our kids a few years back NOT to buy us anything but to do something for someone or a family and then share that story with us. The kids have gotten pretty creative with their ideas, and everyone is excited to hear each of them share their story, which is usually written down in a card that they read. They know it doesn't have to be anything that cost money, as some years they may not have extra cash, but all can do something to make someone else's Christmas better. One year my son, who is in law enforcement, bailed a young father out of jail after he had put him in jail. That was unique! After 9/11, Bob's daughter who lived in NYC at the time gave up a day to work at Ground Zero, another touching story for us to hear. Over the years we have been continually blessed by the love and generosity all of our kids have shown and we feel this is the best gift they can give us. The relating of the story is the grand finale of our evening and we all are anxious to hear everything and usually shed a few tears.

From Stephen Collins' Sermon "Give Presence"

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