Presence Not Presents

At Christmas time we celebrate the gift of God’s presence when He came that first Christmas day born as a baby.  The gift of God’s mind blowing plan to send His one and only son to the world to be present with us, to live life and give His life for ours so that we can live together forever is so amazing!

Presence matters to God because relationship matters to God.  As we celebrate at Christmas the amazing love that came down from heaven for us, I want to talk about the gift of your presence as well.

1 John 4:10-11.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

Our #1 mission in life as Christ followers is to show the love of God to those around us and one of the best ways we can do that is by simply being present.

What might look different about the next few weeks of “hustle and bustle” if we cared less about the to do list, about the shopping, about making everything just right and fitting everything in and concerned ourselves more with being present with those around us?  As you seek to find the perfect gifts for those you love, consider that what they might want from you are not presents, but Presence.

Your presence is often the only present a friend or family member needs. You showing up in a meeting or a conversation with an open heart, you’re listening ear and you’re comforting hug is enough. It’s more than enough; it’s the perfect gift to give.

This holiday season, let’s give ourselves and those we love most a gift that cannot be replaced or duplicated by anyone else in the world, and one that is more fulfilling than anything you could possibly find in a store. Let’s give ourselves; let’s practice being mindful and present when in the presence of those we love.

  • We can give the gift of listening, you know really listening without interrupting or planning your response.  
  • We can give the gift of affection.  A great big hug or holding a loved ones hand.
  • We can give a note, it can be a simple “I love you” or if you’re real creative maybe a little poem.
  • We can give the gift of laughter.  I think every family has those stories that just never get old.  Spend time reminiscing and show those you care about, that you love to laugh with them.
  • We can give the gift of a genuine compliment, letting those we care about know what we appreciate and admire about them.
  • We can give the gift of prayer, one of the most valuable, non-material gifts we can give to someone else.  You could write out your prayer for them and let them know, “you are so special to me, I talk to God about you”.

There are many ways we can think of to be present with one another, to let those around us know that they matter to us.

I think the truth, at least as I’ve discovered in my own life is that many times we are not fully present because being fully present requires us to be vulnerable. It can require a considerable amount of energy. It requires us to put in effort. It requires us to sometimes face an uncomfortable truth. It requires us to deal with the issues we may have with each other. That is what being present is about.

It’s about showing up and being all in.  It’s about caring more about the person in front of you than your phone.  It’s about having real conversations without pretense.  It’s about working side by side with one another.  It’s about just picking up the phone cause I love you and I want you to know.

This is my prayer for each of you and for myself as well. 

  • That we would be willing to let go of the busyness and the lists and all the stuff so that we can make time for what truly matters and that is one another. 
  • That we would be able to spend quality time with those we love and we would be able to look up and look around to those who need our presence in their lives.

Who could use a kind word or your listening ear? Even if at times we may feel insignificant without much to offer, the TRUTH is this, we are each significant enough that Christ came for us.  We are treasured by Him and that our presence when we show up with our whole heart can make a difference to many.

Doesn’t that sound like a great Christmas season?  The Gift of Presence is a beautiful thing!

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