MARY BRASWELL: What did you get for Christmas?

OPINION: Some presents do not need bright paper and bows to shine

Mary Braswell

Mary Braswell

What did you get?

It seems that directly following the question about “how was your Christmas?” comes the “what did you get?” query. Let me answer that one.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I visited with our adopted family 400 miles away in upstate South Carolina for an early Christmas. There were plenty of hugs and gifts to open. But even more importantly, there was a newborn baby to hold and cuddle, something we never had the blessing to do as a childless couple.

And, if that wasn’t enough, I had the honor of purchasing, albeit in a box, the first Christmas tree for the baby’s aunt as she prepared for her first Christmas living on her own. Our trip was too short but, then again, just right at the same time.

As a worker at church with the 2nd-6th grade children’s choir, the result of much practice and prayer brought a delightful tale to life about “Star Power” and the power that was brought to us all with the birth of baby Jesus. There were a few missed lines but no one seemed to notice.

The children performed a rap-like version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” followed by more traditional Christmas selections. The musical reached a grand finale as the youngsters tossed glittery star-shaped confetti into the air.

Christmas Eve brought a communion service at church. Without any conversation, those in attendance left the sanctuary for a candlelight gathering outside at which time we sang “Silent Night” with no musical accompaniment, simply a beautiful cacophony of voices.

It was then time to play Santa to a 9-year-old and her 14-year-old sister, something we have done for the same girls for the past few years. Excitement was in the air as we pulled into the yard and the kids ran out of their house to greet us.

Christmas morning was quiet at our house as the old Golden Retriever, the 18-month old Great Dane and their boss, the cat, slept on, totally unaware that the day was any different.

My mother-in-law still lives alone at age 84, so we went to check on her. When she opened one of her gifts, a rather fancy sequined blouse, her delight caused her to do a little jig in the kitchen, much to our surprise and delight. The three of us then went to the Waffle House for breakfast where diners and workers were all in great spirits. It was fun leaving a healthy tip for the waitress and another for the hostess. Outside a man approached us explaining his need for a bit of help and my husband handed over his last $20 bill — just because he could.

The highlight of the day came, though, when — as John Prine ‘s “Silent Night, All Day Long” played on the stereo — my husband, never one to do such things, reached for my hand and slowly danced me around the living room, holding on tightly as the “angel on the treetop requested a song.”

It was a gift unlike any other.

Did I get those boots I had been eyeing at Tractor Supply? No.

Does it matter?

Not at all.

Email Mary Braswell at mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.