This day is laden with expectation. Even for this blog: how can I get it just right, pleasing every reader? It’s too much to manage, so I don’t. I step aside and let this suffice.

The garbage truck is on our street. My husband and I woke early, and he remembered then to put our cans of trash at the end of the driveway. Then we willed ourselves back to sleep.  Now we are up, awakened by the garbage trucks.

The world spins and my mind is on getting ready for my bookstore shift. The magic of the last few days there make me believe in Christmas. On one side, I could say: all this preparation for just one day. And then I remember life is about preparation: emptying the dishwasher so there is room for the just-dirtied cups.

And while expectation can be a difficult guest, giving gifts is a way we try to see each other. And that’s a worthy expectation. It’s been mostly pure pleasure to help people pick gifts for their loved ones. To see the joy on people’s faces when they think they’ve found the right book. To wrap a gift well enough, to hold it in my hands as I present it to the customer, and to often see a smile spread across their face as they reach out to receive the gift that they are excited to give someone. That’s magic even as it’s an ordinary, working action that we take when we want to love another person well. That’s why I’m liking Christmas Eve this year, even as I struggle with wanting to give my family the perfect day. I know there is no perfect day, but there are these gifts given with good intention. And there’s a perfect beauty in that.

Merry Christmas to you.

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