Christmas is almost here! You made your lists, checked them twice. You began your mission to find the best Christmas present for everyone on your list on time Black Friday. You were off with the pack. Thankfully you did your homework, checked sale ads before leaving home, scanned the web, and asked advice from the gift receivers. You fought the crowds to get that perfect item. You rejoiced each time you crossed a person off your list.
There is another list you are compiling, your Christmas to-do-list. There are presents to wrap, cookies to bake, and cards to address. There are parties to attend, people to bring good cheer to and your regular life to live, if you can fit it in. The lists go on and on.
You realize you are on overload. Stress fills your soul with frustration where peace once resided. You conclude, “I have too much to do and no time to do it.” You say it out loud, but thankfully no one is listening! Could it be your old enemy, Christmas stress knocking on the door of your heart? You slam the door and decline the offer to throw a pity party.
In order to complete the shopping and to-do lists on time you have no choice but to pick up the pace. Moving at record speed, you join the marathon race to the finish line. Your goal is to finish your lists by December 24 or bust!
You are exhausted! Going thru the motions has never been your Christmas style. The lists that began as a tool towards peace, have now stolen your joy. You ask yourself, “What is the real meaning of Christmas?”
Taking a walk down memory lane, you try to recall some of your favorite past Christmases and why. Memories fill your mind; when an unexpected guest spent time with your family; a Christmas card that came from an old friend; the year your best friend’s daughter said your present saved Christmas.
Your heart overflows with Christmas joy and the stress vanishes. You conclude that it was not the presents, but the presence of connecting with people you love!
“Mission cancelled,” you shout. You make a drastic decision and throw out the lists. A new list evolves titled, “Presents With Presence.” This new mission begins in the heart. These types of presents are not bought at the store. They cannot be ordered online or selected from a catalog. No, you cannot put a price tag on this kind of present.
This is one of my old lists; take time to make your own.
Presents With Presence List:
1. Watch the sunset with my husband.
2. Write thank-you notes to people who have touched my life.
3. Take a retreat with girlfriends.
4. Give out 10 gifts to those who would have a lean Christmas.
5. Cook and freeze meals for a new mom.
6. Write a letter to each of my grandchildren
7. Do something with each of my children.
8. Take my mom out to dinner and a movie.
Isn’t it the thought that counts? Think before you give. Quality times spent in the presence of the ones you love are the best times of all. Life is short, so treasure the moments. Aim to be present to whomever you are with; you will become the present. It will always be a “one of a kind” gift and fit perfectly too.
Give from the heart and bring Christ’s Joy to the world. Isn’t that what Jesus would do? Whose birthday is it anyway? Tell the world that the Lord has come. This is an eternal present to all.