GIFTS THAT JINGLE

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“Talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that's a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you'll never know. That's just the truth.”

Jackson Maine, Country-Rock Star, “A Star Is Born”

When Bradley Cooper was handed the reins to direct “A Star Is Born”, he was way over his head and he knew it.  While an accomplished actor for 20 years, he had never directed a film.  As Jackson Maine, he portrayed a country-rock star.  Even as the screenplay was being co-written by Bradley Cooper several years before production started, he incredulously didn’t know how to play a guitar much less sing.

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What he lacked in bringing this enigmatic love story to the silver screen, he substituted with his gifts of authentic passion, creativity and boundless energy.  Since its release, “A Star Is Born” has had rave reviews from critics and audiences.  Oscar buzz has Bradley Cooper favored to be nominated for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and contributing to Lady Gaga’s Best Original Song (Shallow).  His gifts may jingle all the way on Oscar night.

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Unless there’s a barking gift under my Christmas tree, the holidays will be a bust again.  Although it’s always possible that Santa’s GPS may have malfunctioned again.  I’ve been writing to his North Pole address for many years for a puppy with sloppy kisses!         

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A few years ago the weather even cooperated with a “White Christmas”, but still no barking Santa gift.  Someday, when I’ve been especially good throughout the year, Santa may surprise me.  Wise men counsel that all things come in the right time.

When I think about the Christmas presents throughout my lifetime, how many were special enough to remember the jingle? 

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I do recall my first “big boy” bicycle.  Santa had to find me in Bermuda that Christmas.  It had a leather pack behind the seat and a jingle bell on the handle bars.  No kidding!  That bike was my first glimpse of what freedom felt like.  I rode that bicycle all over the neighborhood, proud to show it off to my envious buddies.  Even rode my wheels to the beach, a mile or so away from the house. 

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While living in Bermuda during childhood, our home was reached through Khyber Pass, between Middle Road in Warwick and the South Shore.  Every school day, my brothers and I walked alone to the bus stop through Khyber Pass.  No parental escort in those days.  When I pause to reflect on those years growing up in Bermuda with my family, it was idyllic.  We even had a German Shepherd dog named King.  My memory may be stretching the fantasy slightly, but I recall King’s collar had a jingle! 

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Christmas has always been a favorite time of year for me.  My parents were Noel’s joy, sowing magic snowflakes, even in those seasons when there was no “white stuff” to be seen.  Dad was the master Christmas decorator outside and inside the house.  He treasured a set of large silver globes that were carefully hung on the lower bough of the tree.  Even with the most careful of handling over many decades, the number of prized ornaments diminished every year.  It’s possible my sister or brothers have at least a sole survivor.  Mom’s cooking and generosity was well known by her family and local community.  Throughout the years, especially at Christmas and Easter, she would volunteer as an organist, choir director, and take a musical leadership role with special church productions.  Dad’s physical strength and adroit activities were obvious in the maintenance of the house and yard, and several vegetable gardens.  His reputation was chiseled through decorated service in federal fire protection and a healthy productive retirement - nobody outworked Fireman Jim.  Mother's subtle spirit was understated.  Her distinctly sweet fragrance and constant moral strength were like whispers straight from God's very own heart to mine.  Now, during every holiday season, there's a sudden child-like moment of wonder when I hear a jingle in the Christmas air -- and I feel the warm gift of my parents.  Surely they must be nearby.

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While not as flashy as Bradley Cooper, I also have many talents and gifts that jingle now and then.  Blogging, for example. Throughout high school and college I struggled with creative writing.  During the past three years a series of emotionally painful events in my personal life prompted me to launch my website, LovesIntention.  For the website’s content, I began channeling my angst into volunteer service and blogging.  The writing style flourished through the search of my vulnerable truth.  I have far to go in my therapeutic journey of well-being, but I’m moving forward to rediscover my place.  Lately, especially during the writing of this holiday greeting, I’ve heard a familiar jingle and comforting whisper of the Christ Child in the Silent Night.