The Time Machine: Presents or Presence?

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

I wrote these thoughts just before Christmas 2015.


As we draw closer to the holidays, I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between presents and presence.  We long to connect with each other so we give presents that show our love.  How awesome!  But even more so, I’ve been feeling like I need to BE more present.

I love giving presents. It’s so awesome to see my girls’ faces when they open up their gifts! And my husband’s reactions are nearly as fantastic.

But presence itself?  Hmm.  That’s a bit tougher.  Somehow it’s easier to wrap something up in shiny paper or a smiley status update or an instagram filter than it is to actually call my grandma, invite someone for dinner, or even send that text I’ve been meaning to send for weeks, no months.  Has it been a year already?  Too embarrassed to send it now.

Hold on, I’m just checking out my messages.  Just checking out my newsfeed.

Maybe just checking out.

What if, over the course of this holiday season and as a precursor for the year to come, we put the phone down for a while?

So we can get down on the floor and play.

So we can slow down and hear the heart of the matter.

So we can let down those walls and make room for Jesus, King of Glory.

I love Christmas because I love how it shows us God’s heart:  Emmanuel, GOD WITH US.  God did not only give us hope and peace and love and joy – He gave us Himself when He sent His Son into the world as a baby on that very first Christmas.

What if our gift to the King in the manger is to surrender to Him wholly and completely?

What if our spiritual act of worship this Christmas is to choose not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12)?

And what if we let that change the way we do life, becoming invitational and present in the moments He has given specifically to us?  No one else is uniquely placed where we are right now in life.  Only we can give our attention and love.

The King of Kings has come!  He is with us so we can be with Him!  And He gives us everything we need, so that we can give everything back to Him.

I love to celebrate the Christmas season.  Bring on the presents, tree, carols, cookies and lights.  They are beautiful traditions that reflect the heart of the Father who gives good gifts to His children.

In all those moments, though, I long to be available, engaged and grateful, with a heart of worship.

Because here’s the thing:  being truly present in a moment that matters will matter more than all the presents under all the trees for the rest of our lives.


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