At our Christmas mass at the jail Tuesday night, the priest, Father Lee, a humble, on-fire dynamo from South Korea, said something in the homily that really resonated with me. It wasn’t the main point of his talk, but it sure hit home with me. He said, “Your presence is your present.”
As kids, presents are a very important part of the Christmas season. Looking through toy catalogs, watching television for the newest must have toys, and dreaming of Santa Claus placing them under the tree, is the center piece of the season.
But as we get older, the present isn’t quite as important as the people we have around us. Family and friends become very important at Christmas time. There is not a parent alive that wouldn’t trade even the biggest present for having their family together at the holidays. Sons and daughters, grand kids, and friends, who are living far away are the best Christmas gifts. Their presence in your holiday is the best Christmas present you could receive.
And, our being present for them, is the greatest gift we can give, as well. I mean being “really present” and attentive to what is happening to them in their lives, and not allowing our attention to drift to our job, health, or any other distraction. Being truly present!
It is said that there are three elements to giving, the giver, the receiver, and the gift itself. The least important of these is the gift. The interaction of the two people involved, their presence is the real gift.
We have seen recently how a lifetime of gifts can disappear instantly, like the homes and belongings of the people affected by Hurricane Sandy, or worse yet, the loss of the “presence” of the 20 children and 6 teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Their presence is only a memory now.
At Christmas, it is good to remember that God gave us a gift too, the gift of HIS presence in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. He became man, dwelt among us, sharing his presence with his family, and his friends, the Apostles, and the people he touched during his ministry.
Jesus is still present today, in the 2000 year old recollection of the stable and manger, of angels, shepherds, and wise men. Let us strive to be attentive to our Lord this Christmas as well, and make it a point to spend more time with Him, in praise, prayer, and adoration. Pray with me:
Lord, make me more attentive to the presence of the people around me this Christmas, my wife, children, and friends. Let me not be distracted by the hurried pace of the things of the secular world that are not important. Help me, Lord, to be more attentive to you as well, in my prayer life and in helping those less fortunate around me. Help me to spend this Christmas, attentive to the presence of the Holy Family, and my own family, this day. Their presence will be the best present I receive this Christmas.
God bless you, and have a blessed and merry Christmas and happy and healthy New Year!
Every Sunday evening, I posts a new story of faith. Occasionally, like tonight, I’ll posts an additional story mid-week. To get the latest story delivered to your email every week, simply subscribe but clicking here.