1/17/2016

An Extraordinary Gift Exchange


It’s only the beginning of 2016 and already, the past year seems ancient. Since we refer to 2015 as last year, what happened last month sounds like stale news.

But, really, Christmas was just three weeks ago, so I am going to write about a particular Christmas party that I look forward to every year, and which I look back to with fondness even after the New Year has snugly set in. 

I speak of our OMFLit Christian Writers’ Fellowship (CWF) Christmas get-together we call “pot-bless” (more popularly known as potluck). Each attendee brings something to drink or munch on to the dinner table.

It begins with worship through songs, prayers, reflections, and a message. Then “whatever” ensues:  games, raffles, food, chats, jokes, photo ops—nothing rigid, nothing fancy, nothing predictable, just spontaneous stuff that keeps everyone bantering about the one thing he/she loves: books.  

Then the gift exchange or exchange gift drives everyone to maximum excitement. Yes, books! When you come to this party, you have to bring a book that you treasure and wish you’d keep forever—but would be glad to share with a kindred spirit.

Last year (three weeks ago) I chose a book that is so-not-me: a Philippine history book. I have little interest in history, but I happened to grab one of the many books of my husband (a history buff), and it grabbed me. I thought it might bless another writer, too, so I decided on making it my exchange gift.

Unfortunately, typical of me, I failed to bring it to the party. That desperate situation called for a desperate move: I rushed to the OMF Lit Bookshop and bought a copy of one of my books.

We drew names and successively, we were supposed to explain our book choice. I confessed. In a group such as this, you can be truthful and not be lynched for your idiocy—or senility. 

The recipient of my gift (my book) grinned and said, “I want my history book!”

Oh, dear. Naturally, lusty laughter drowned him out. 

From him, I got the perfect book: Weird by Craig Groeschel. I had coveted it after reading his The Christian Atheist, but if you are a book freak in a bookstore, books electrify you, and when you come to, you have enough pile in your arms, but not enough cash.   

That’s why the CWF Christmas party, from the first hour to the last, is exchange grace, or grace exchange.

It's only 11 months to the next one.


2 comments:

Ruth Floresca said...

One of our best sessions I also look forward to every year, Ate! Nice group photos! :)

Grace D. Chong said...

Those lovely photos, which captured the spirit of the party, were sent to me by Tito Dok. It was great to see you there, Ruth!