Presence instead of Presents

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! This season always makes me a bit more reflective. Lately I’ve been thinking about what people want most for Christmas. By this time, most children have already written to Santa or sat on his lap to discuss their Christmas wishes. Adults too may have given lists to family members and friends of items that they would like to see under the tree later this week.

What do people really want? Is it the latest cool toy or the new pullover sweater in the beautifully wrapped box tied up with a ribbon? OR is it something else…something that cannot be wrapped? What if we are misspelling our Christmas desire and it is not presents (aka gifts) but rather presence (to be present?)

photo by Marsha Farrell
photo by Marsha Farrell

When I remember my favorite Christmases, my fond memories are not the toys that I received (though I did love the silly putty when it came out in the ‘60s). Instead, my favorite memories are the large family gatherings at grandparents’ houses with all of my cousins and lots of aunts and uncles. It was the time spent playing, eating and talking with everyone… being connected with people that I most loved.

We, people, are meant for connection with others. Connection is where we will find meaning this Christmas. The first Christmas was GOD connecting with us by sending baby Jesus to earth. Emmanuel, GOD with us. GOD’s Presence.

This season, let’s give our presence to those around us: our family, friends, neighbors, the elderly, the isolated caregivers, the widow or widower. Let being Present, your presence be your authentic present to others this year.