presents or presence



The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
Burton Hillis

Confession: I haven’t started my Christmas shopping.

Normally, the control freak in me would be, well, freaking out.
She would be [internally] screaming at me: Make your list! Organize by store and mall! GET YOUR SHOPPING DONE!!
She’s kind of bossy, my inner control freak.

But this year I’m not in a big rush.
Maybe this has something to do with life recently, and maybe this has to do with a change of heart.
In any case, I’m content just being. Oh, I’m sure I’ll do my shopping later this weekend, but in all honesty I’m just not worried about it.

This year I just want to spend time with the people I love most in the world.
I want to be close to them. Laugh with them. Sit quietly and just be with them.
If I could bottle time and give it as a gift, I’m pretty sure that’s what everyone would be getting this year.

I mean, being present for those you love and cherish has been around since… well since forever. Since the birth of Jesus.

You all know the story:

there was a census
Joseph and pregnant Mary made their way to Bethlehem
there was no room at the inn
Mary gave birth to the Son of God in a manger

and it was ok because they were all together!

The shepherds came and brought their gifts and do you know what Mary did?
She pondered them in her heart.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Luke 2:19 (NIV)

On Sunday my pastor held up a very nicely wrapped box. It had sparkly wrapping paper and a nice big bow.
And do you know what he did?
He shook it. I mean he really shook it.

and the box was empty

Because the true gift doesn’t come from a store.
It can’t be bought; it can’t be held.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 (NIV)

Friends. Sisters.
Giving gifts is fun. It makes our hearts happy and is truly something I cherish.
But don’t let the rush of the season push you to just give any gift.
Let the gifts you give this season reflect on the relationship of the person you are buying for.
Let each gift show you and your heart – not just another super-awesome-and-majorly-advertised item.

Wrap those gifts and give them with a heart full of Jesus.
But more than that: give yourself. Your time, your heart, your presence.

After all, Jesus is the reason for this season, and He always gives us His time.
He made his dwelling among us – let us do the same for each other this Christmas.

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