You missed one. Yes, you. You missed a gift. I know, you put the tree away, the menorah back on the shelf and vacuumed up the pine needles, but I'm telling you that you missed one. And it's a big one, too.
You've never had one exactly like this one. Oh you may have had one that looked similar, but there's no way it could have been an exact duplicate.
Is it your size? Yes and no. Some days it will fit like a comfortable old sweater and your favorite pair of boots. You'll feel comfortable in it, rested and at peace.
Other days it may tug at the collar, pull across the back of your shoulders and itch like the dickens. You may feel bound and constricted and like you want to peel it off and run as fast and hard and far as you can.
Is it used? Goodness, no. This isn't any regift. This is fresh the feel of clean sheets on the bed, that new car smell and the warmth of towels fresh from the dryer.
Does it come with a gift receipt? Can you return it or cash it out? There's no receipt. You can't return it and cashing it out isn't something you want to do.
It's even your color. A pale frosty blue in the winter, soft greens with pink buds in the spring, splashes of yellow and red in the summer that turn to amber and sienna under the hunter's moon come fall.
Did it come from a catalog? No, but I saw a picture of it once. It was taken by an astronaut hurtling through space.
In the center of the picture was the earth with the continents surrounded by deep blue water.
Right down the middle of the picture, cutting across prairies, mountains, deserts and seas, fell a soft shadow that grew darker and darker and wrapped half of the planet in a blanket of night.
At the very edge of that shadow was a narrow band that separated the light from the dark, evening and day.
And that's your gift the gift of time. Twelve months, 52 weeks, 365 days.
I know, it's huge. Who has room on a closet shelf for that?
What you do with the gift is entirely up to you. You can weave patterns of living that give beauty and grace to each day. You can build routines for waking, showering, getting ready and build in a few moments of quiet reflection. You can blow through it like a straight-line wind, work 16 hours a day, nod to the kids and fuel up with black coffee.
Then again, you could set aside some time for sharing meals, wandering through the woods and visiting with friends.
We all struggle with a gift of such size how many squares on the calendar to fill in, how many to leave free, how far out to plan, what's important and what's not. Perhaps no one knows how to use the gift of time as well as those who know the gift is coming to an end.
In any case, time is yours, use it wisely. And above all - enjoy.