Walking my dogs along the Mission Trails park trail at 7:30 AM on a Sunday morning is somewhat unusual. Not that the dogs seem to mind. What was unusual is that I woke at 6:50 that morning – a full hour later than I routinely do on a Sunday. But then both Dexter and Comet were fast asleep on the floor by the bed when I woke.

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.


Dexter seems to know that we are in full-on holiday routine. But that is his motivation to give me that look of expectation. Dog-walkers know exactly what that is. And my sore shoulder – that I tweaked a week ago Tuesday and still bothering me this evening – got no rest again this morning. Dexter, for an eight-year old dog, has tremendous energy and often pulls me up hills when we walk the trail. It was nothing short of this today. And Comet? Comet loves a brisk walk, with a stop every so often to mark his presence. Between the two, I get a fair bit of exercise.

While this would have been a good day to just sit on the couch, I was a bit lost. You see, I have been accustomed for at least a thousand Sundays to go to worship services in the morning. For at least a third of these I have been leading the ushers which necessitated me to be up and out the door by 8:50. So this was a day to do shopping, groceries, and a little home maintenance. Between scary movies on television (what? doesn’t every family have a holiday tradition?!) , my wife and one of our sons helped with peanut butter balls or catching his mom up on all his latest news. For my part, I spent more time discussing with my neighbor what a mess the gopher invasion in our neighborhood was making. And then the day turned to depart for our worship service.

While I expected there to be fewer in town last evening, as it turned out my fellow ushers and I had a full house. On the Sunday nearest Christmas singing, cookies, hot coffee and chocolate brings out the cheer; longtime friends of my wife and I chose an after-service meal at Panera to catch up on the season’s plans with our respective families.

And suddenly it was Monday. Christmas Eve. I reminded my wife twice this morning that I was getting up early, not because it was a work day but because I had received a Jury Duty summons in the mail. But before duty called, my other duty called. Walking the dogs. Something like “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” played in my head. A foggy morning to step out into on this Christmas Eve.

I’ve had several special breakfasts during the holidays in years past. But none courtesy of a cafeteria worker in a public building. At the San Diego County Courthouse. Today the special was biscuits and gravy. A few exchanges of “Merry Christmas!” Given the choice, I probably would have gone to the Cafe down the street, but as I took my breakfast and coffee in styrofoam to-go containers, I think it was encouraging them that a few of the jurors followed my lead on the breakfast special.

Yet there was a few more presents from Santa to open early. A little after 9 AM, the clerk thanked us all for our service and dismissed us. I imagine that bailiffs, defense counsel and the D.A.s were feeling a little festive this morning and decided to share it with us. Merry Christmas, everyone!

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22 -23 (NIV)

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