Although the dragon has been associated with many cultures, events and causes, one of the oldest and most continuous references is the Welsh dragon. Commonly attributed to the coat of arms of King Arthur, the Welsh dragon has flown for centuries over castles, armies and feasts.

This morning, a Welsh dragon stands undaunted in my kitchen; a coffee cup sporting a pewter design given to me by a long standing friend as a gift this past Christmas.

 The dragon is a welcome member in our home. Somewhere in my own ancestry, I have Welsh heritage.  My wife’s Chinese zodiac sign is the dragon. I have read more stories and novels about dragons than I care to publicly admit (although, if you haven’t discovered Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance Cycle” you should).  Yet, what gives this mug particular brilliance this morning is the manner and source of the gift.

We all have them, friends who have been with us for a long time. They're the friends who know us “warts and all.” Friends -that take the time to visit, laugh and celebrate with you. Friends -who have stood with you through your best and worst, reminding you not to take too much credit for the former nor too much blame for the later. Such is the friend who gifted me with the Welsh dragon of today’s Sunday Coffee Cup. For these reasons alone I am grateful. The cup is more, however.

Over the past two years, this friend of mine has struggled with employment. This Christmas has found him on the short end of long line of financial challenges and still unemployed. Unable to buy gifts this Christmas, he gave me this gift from his common possessions – something he regularly used and valued. He chose to offer to me a measure of his life, a gift – appropriate in nature for sure – but a gift that meant he would in a small way, be doing with less by the giving of it. There is something remarkably refreshing in such giving and in this cup of coffee this morning.