"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23
This Christmas I have been telling myself, on a daily basis, that it is all about presence...not presents. I, naturally, want to bless all the people I love and who are important to me with gifts, lots and lots of gifts...especially my children. What parent doesn't want to bless their children abundantly? But due to the constraints of life...mainly, time and money...this is just not possible on as grand of a scale as I would love.
Don't get me wrong, my kids will get gifts and gifts and gifts...more gifts than they need. I'm not saying they won't get much. I'm saying I won't get to buy as much as I'd like. I love to shop and I love to give. It is a wonderful combination when the budget is large!
But, when it's not as large as I'd like I have to remind myself...Christmas is all about presence. Presence of family. Presence of friends. And, most importantly, Christmas is about Presence. Presence of the One I long to be with and can't go on living without...the One I love.
I have to constantly remind myself the presents are not as important as the presence when what I long to bless people with is not even close to the gift I end up actually giving. If money were no object, what fun I would have buying each loved one the perfect gift.
Unfortunately, I am restricted to spending only the money in my pocket, using only the time that comes in each day and happen to be very thankful that Christmas is about presence not presents.
I remind myself of this when I am busily crafting Christmas presents (presents that looked much cuter and craftier in my mind). I remind myself of this when I rush out at the last minute to get the one I forgot. I remind myself of this when I end up settling because I didn't leave enough time to figure out what the perfect gift would be.
Today, I did my Christmas shopping...virtually all of it except for the two errands I ran yesterday and the one last week. We went to place after place after place. The crowds were big, the traffic was slow, my heart was racing. In the hustle and bustle of one afternoon, the completing of just one list, I was pressed to forget about the presence of the One we celebrate this season.
As we ran from store to store to store to find the perfect little gifts for everyone, Julia and I had so much fun...yes, she helped to purchase one of her own gifts and she will look so fashionista fabuloso in her fun-fur scarf, hat and gloves on Christmas Eve because I couldn't resist it!
When we had to search three stores for the one certain play-doh-pick-up-stick-tool that Alyssa so desperately wanted and ended up at Super Walmart the evening of December 23rd in the pouring, freezing rain, we laughed. We couldn't even get our cart down the aisles it was so crowded, we lost our car in the parking lot and got separated no less than a hundred times! But, we were together. Rare, precious time for me to be with only one of my girls...we had presence.
I pray I will have the gift of presence with each of the ones I love this Christmas holiday. I pray you will have the gift of presence with each of the ones you love too.
I also pray we will all make time for the One whose presence we can't live without...Presence.
What a good lesson for my kids to learn, what a good reminder for me...Christmas is all about Presence.
Immanuel...God with us.
Wouldn't you agree, Christmas Presence is the perfect Christmas present?
I long to experience Christmas Presence...God's presence all year long.
I pray you experience His presence all year long too.
Let's celebrate with Christmas Presence each day of the year!