Before the holidays people love to share stories about gifts they are giving. After Christmas, it’s all about what we have received. Giving and receiving is an old cadence, worthy of repeating. Two colleagues confirmed that belief for me in seeing their delight over a new tablet one received as a gift. The other has a 16-month-old son who gave his dad a Christmas morning described to me as, “A blast!” Magical times, these holiday seasons through which we pass each year. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day come special surprises, unexpected delights. Pay attention. Witness the extraordinary in what appears ordinary.

Familiar readings help. Remember the shepherds that witnessed the birth of Jesus? Business as usual for them that night. Shepherds possess awareness we can’t imagine. Keeping track of one hundred or so sheep takes diligence, more so a deep knowing of each lamb, ewe and ram in their care. A few bolters and adventurers in a flock could keep a shepherd busy. Perhaps it was while untangling some little wayward lamb from a bramble that guided one of those shepherds from business as usual to something so special they could not contain themselves.

Familiar music helps. The Little Drummer Boy tells his story: Come, they told me, to see our new born king. Our finest gifts we bring, to honor him, when we come. I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring. I’ll play my drum; I’ll play my best for him. Then, he smiled at me, me and my drum. Imagine being invited to such an extraordinary moment. The boy didn’t hesitate, simply accepted the invitation and followed. Even when he thought he had nothing with him to give a king, nothing fine or wonderful, he kept going. When he arrived he may have had to wait to present his gift, still clueless as to what he would do when his turn came. But then, he knew. He and his gift were accepted and valued.

Familiar scenes from movies help. It’s a Wonderful Life comes to mind. Young Pete Bailey, seeing his father spin out of control, asks his mother, “Is daddy in trouble?” Her answer is compassionate and pointed: “Yes, Pete.” Both know that immediate action is required: Mary calls Uncle Billy; Pete prays and the younger children join in. While George is on his vision quest, Mary gathers the town, and together create the miracle that Harry declares in his toast: “To my big brother, George, the richest man in town.”

Words, music, scenes, all pointing us to our own extraordinary moments of truth. The shepherds were at work. The drummer boy was gathered with friends. Mary and Pete Bailey were decorating their home for a party. Each saw a bit of their destiny in the blink of an eye. They didn’t hesitate or question what they saw or what they would do, didn’t wonder if they were up to the task. Their time had come. They recognized it, and they acted on it, knew their purpose and trusted its part in the events unfolding before them. Ordinary moments, extraordinary choices.

Where are those moments in your life? We all have times of knowing, that we must trust ourselves, and that we must act. Many of us have chosen not to act, despite that knowing. Most of us have chosen to act sometimes, but not others. Our best is revealed to us in each choice, albeit not always as we may expect. Our purpose always calls us forward to see more and become more, even if it only makes sense to us. Naysayers and doubters abound. Visionaries often carry the message, the dream, and the truth all on their own, even if it’s just for a little while. Each moment may appear ordinary, but is revealed as extraordinary to those who hold that particular message, dream or truth.

Knowing our purpose, and trusting its part to the events unfolding before us each day, makes us part of the magic of this holiday season. The extraordinary is that in which we live, move and have our being.

Author's Bio: 

Cory L. Kemp, a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, brings a background in communications, women’s studies and pastoral ministry to her work as a communication coach. Putting into practice the journaling skills she created and teaches, Cory founded Communication Leadership, helping healers, coaches, designers and teachers collect their thoughts, organize and savor their everyday lives. Cory’s unique skill-based Conversation: Journaling program gives you practical tools and simple structures applicable for many aspects of your personal and professional life. Over thirty-five years of journaling experience gives Cory an informed perspective on life challenges and how to transform them into triumphs. Connect with Cory at