I'd like to share with you a warm flicker of Christmas joy that has touched me this holiday season. My son is a manager for a public accounting firm, and last year he began hosting a dinner party for the people who report to him, one that he intends to make a tradition. It was (and will continue to be, I'm sure) a resounding success, but what delights me is how the whole thing comes together in a way that epitomizes the spirit of Christmas.
The son in question has attended a church (or ward in Mormon lingo) for young single adults very like the one my husband leads. I mention this only because it is people from that congregation who volunteer their time to put on this dinner for him, not for recompense but out of friendship. They come over and decorate the place from top to bottom, prepare and cook a meal far better than any professional caterer, and then dress up like waiters to serve the guests. Even live music is provided, free of charge, by whatever musician friend is free to drop in and set the mood. Best of all, and this is the part that makes me feel the most warm and fuzzy, is the fact that Ryan takes a page from our family Christmas Eve book and creates a "circle time" of sorts. Last year the theme had to do with reaping what you sow, and this year it's something about being a compass for others and always pointing true north. He reads or makes up a story, gives a little token as a reminder (this year he bought inexpensive compasses for everyone), and apparently waxes inspirational enough that his guests last year were visibly moved. One even commented that the group "had a moment."