This post was originally published in 2014. I had it on my calendar to post again today (8 days before Christmas 2018) and coincidentally (or not, since things like this happen all the time), it was the topic at church yesterday.
It’s eight days before Christmas!
Emails regarding last-minute presents flood our inboxes. Anyone we’ve ever purchased anything from has exactly what we need to finish our shopping! Stores have long lines. Frustrated, and sometimes frantic, consumers are trying to find:
the perfect gift,
the gift that says, “I do pay attention”,
the gift that will erase all the mistakes of the past year,
the gift that won’t be returned,
What if you are the gift?
Christmas expectations abound. We question not only whether we bought enough, but whether 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, or buy what’s now even less expensive, forgetting what we were supposed to be celebrating.
What if there isn’t anything to be returned?
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 “fluff” 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 stuff?
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. He didn’t dash from party to party hanging out where there was the best stuff to eat or drink. He didn’t hurry through life overdoing, overbuying, or overcommitting. He didn’t leave a conversation with “the least of us” to get a chance to talk to the “powerful”.
What if we try to be present like Him?
Folks missing a loved one, and the lonely who will spend one more day by themselves, aren’t thinking about colorfully wrapped presents. They’re missing the experience of being with someone special. They would give anything to have
their home filled with their child’s voice,
their mother or father to embrace, or
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 and feel the love that we often take for granted?
I am blessed. I thank God every day for those blessings, but in spite of that, I still sometimes 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 remind myself 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’re able to give,
what really matters,
what’s important to you?
Would you slow down long enough to open—
Would you slow down long enough to feel—
Would you slow down long enough to offer—
a prayer of thanks,
a word of encouragement to someone who’s lost all hope?
Would you slow down long enough to hold—
a hand that’s trembling,
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 person in front of you,
the beauty that surrounds you,
the wonder in a child’s eyes?
Would you slow down long enough to be present; to see the magic of each moment?
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 season,
©2014/2018 peace full home ®/intentional living
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