It’s three days before Christmas.
Emails regarding last-minute presents are flooding our “in” boxes. It seems that anyone we’ve ever purchased ANYTHING from has exactly what we need to finish our shopping. The malls and shopping centers are packed with cars. Frustrated, and sometimes frantic, shoppers are trying to find the “right” gift, the perfect gift, the gift that will prove that “yes I do pay attention”, the gift that will erase all the mistakes made in the last year, the gift that won’t be returned, the gift that can be bragged about, THE gift. Some shoppers’ lists are incredibly long. There are so many people that they simply MUST have something tangible to give to. People are spending more than they can afford, going into more debt, and buying for a lot of reasons that have NOTHING to do with love, or joy, or the reason for the season.
What if YOU are the gift?
Christmas expectations abound. We question not only if we bought enough, but if we baked enough, decorated enough, visited enough, entertained enough, DID enough. Then, in many places, on December 26th everyone’s rushing back to the stores to return what they never wanted, to buy what’s now even less expensive and, sadly, to forget everything about what we were supposed to be celebrating.
What if there isn’t anything to be returned?
I’m a gift-giver too. I genuinely enjoy giving gifts more than receiving gifts. I pick up stocking stuffers all year long so that when Christmas is here, I’ve chosen things that are meaningful for our children and grandchildren, instead of rushing to simply “buy the right number of things”. I also love giving Christmas presents but it’s because I want to be able to GIVE something meaningful, something from the heart.
What if you ONLY give out of love?
What about the Present of Presence? Why don’t we honor THAT gift as much as something that has a dollar sign attached to it?
What if the gifts you give aren’t “bought”?
I have dear friends who, like me, believe that spending quality time together -BEING PRESENT- is the most important thing we can give each other. We are able to sit and talk for hours..not just about the “fluffy” parts of life, but about REAL life. We share honestly and openly, without pretense. We honor the gift of presence.
What if all of our relationships were built on an investment of time instead of an investment of money?
If you celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ (as opposed to the secular Christmas that we hear more about) you probably know that Jesus of Nazareth modeled being present always. He did not dash from party to party hanging out where there was the best stuff to eat or drink. He did not hurry through life overdoing, overbuying, or overcommitting. He did not leave a conversation with “the least of us” to get a chance to talk to the “big wigs”. He did not rush through His time spent with one person to get to the next best thing.
What if we try to BE PRESENT like Him?
The folks missing a loved one who’s in the military would give anything to have their homes filled with their son or daughter’s voice, to hold their partner’s hand, to embrace their mother or father, to laugh with their dear friend. How blessed they would feel to have the present of presence. I’m pretty sure that all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one are not thinking about the present they’re not unwrapping. They’re missing the experience of being with that special person. They’re missing the present of presence. The lonely who will spend one more day by themselves while the rest of us celebrate and laugh and eat, may indeed wish there was a gift to open, but it’s even more likely that they would love to have even one person to have a conversation with; one person to give them the present of presence.
What would they give up to feel the love that we often take for granted?
I am blessed. I get that. I thank God everyday for my blessings, but in spite of that I still get caught up in the rush of the holidays; in the “to do” lists. The type A, overachiever in me has to be reigned in regularly; has to be reminded to slow down to be present.
What if you could always BE PRESENT?
Would you slow down long enough to listen….to what you’re really saying, to your spirit, to someone who needs just one person to talk to?
Would you slow down long enough to share….what you really mean, what’s important to you, what you’re able to give?
Would you slow down long enough to open….your home, your heart, your mind?
Would you slow down long enough to feel….grateful, blessed, loved?
Would you slow down long enough to give….thanks, a hand to someone who needs help, a word of encouragement to someone who’s lost all hope?
Would you slow down long enough to hold… a child who’s afraid, a friend who’s in pain, a hand that’s reaching out?
Would you slow down enough to be thankful….for those who watch over us to keep us free, for the health you DO have, for the food on your table?
Would you slow down enough to see….the snow falling, the beauty that surrounds us, the wonder in a child’s eyes?
Would you slow down long enough to be present?
What if we CHOOSE to be present?
How will we spend this time?
How will we live our lives?
How will we engage with those we care about?
What if we give the present of presence?
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza!
Wishing you peace,
©2014 Peace Full Home