It’s six days before Christmas.
Emails regarding last-minute presents flood our in-boxes. Anyone we’ve ever purchased anything from has exactly what we need to finish our shopping! Mall parking lots are packed with cars. Stores have long lines. Frustrated, and sometimes frantic, consumers are trying to find:
the right gift,
the perfect gift,
the gift that says, “yes I do pay attention”,
the gift that will erase all the mistakes made in the past year,
the gift that won’t be returned,
the gift that can be bragged about,
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, on December 26th, many folks rush back to the stores to return what they never wanted, to buy what’s now even less expensive and, sadly, forget everything about what we were supposed to be celebrating.
What if there isn’t anything to be returned?
I genuinely enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. I pick up stocking stuffers all year long, instead of rushing to “buy the right number of items” at the last-minute. I love giving Christmas presents, but it’s because I want to be able to give something meaningful and 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’re 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 “powerful”. He did not rush through to get to the next best thing.
What if we try to be present like Him?
Folks missing a loved one—who’s far away or in the military— would give anything to have:
their homes filled with their child’s voice,
their partner’s hand to hold,
their mother or father to embrace,
their dear friend to laugh with.
How blessed they would feel to have the present of presence.
What if they could be with the person they miss so?
Those grieving the loss of a loved one are usually not thinking about things. 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, may indeed wish they had a gift to open. It’s even more likely, however, 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 those blessings, but in spite of that I still get caught up in the rush of the holidays—in the “to do” lists. The overachiever in me has to be reigned in regularly. I have to be reminded to slow down to be present.
What if we could always be present?
Would you slow down long enough to listen—
to what you’re really saying,
to someone who needs just one person to talk to,
to your spirit?
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—
Would you slow down long enough to feel—
Would you slow down long enough to give—
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—
onto the magic of each moment,
a child who’s afraid,
a friend who’s in pain?
Would you slow down enough to be thankful—
for those who sacrifice to protect our freedom,
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 you choose to be present?
How will we spend this time?
How will we live into our lives?
How will we engage with those we care about?
What if we give the present of presence?
Wishing you a peace-filled and joy-full Christmas,
©2016 peace full home ™/intentional living
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