Presence or Presents
Two words have been on my mind lately: Presence and Presents.
Only 35 days left!
Of course, I’m thinking about Christmas. It’s time to buy presents. I always stress over finding just the right thing for each person. As nieces and nephews get older, I find it particularly difficult to come up with something creative. They don’t mind simply receiving money, of course, but that takes the fun out of it.
On the Webb side of the family, we have a tradition. My adult nieces and nephews delight in the simple gift of chocolate chip cookies. It reminds them of Grandma Webb (my mom), who made the best cookies in the country, of any kind.
It’s my honor to give these presents, because I miss her presence.
Christmas brings a longing in my heart. I love to celebrate with each of my families here on earth, but I can’t wait to be in the presence of God with my heavenly family. One by one we will each arrive for the greatest of family reunions – together in the presence of God.
Thinking about it gets me to daydreaming. Which isn’t such a bad thing. It gives my mind a break from all of the lists of things which need to be done. It’s been a fabulous year, but it’s been so busy I’ve hardly been able to keep up. I simply prepared for the next thing on the calendar. If I looked forward any further, I got overwhelmed.
But sometimes I had no choice. When the speaking calendar required me to be gone for four consecutive weeks and prepare for 3 retreats and 7 speaking events during that month, I had no idea how I could possibly do it. (You wondered why I’m blogging less? lol)
That’s when I started pondering presence.
Have you ever found yourself looking into the face of a friend and realizing that they are expecting an answer to a question you didn’t hear? Yeah, I sure have. Have you ever realized you are looking at someone and they are talking, but your head can’t stay present where you are because there’s so much on your mind? Yeah, me too.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap. I’m afraid I’ll forget things, so I rehearse them over and over in my mind. Or I’m struggling to figure out how to accomplish what’s left to be done before the next event or trip. Technology keeps me continually interrupted, so I can’t finish one thing before a beep commands my attention. We all know how frustrating it is to try to have a conversation with someone who keeps looking at their phone, and yet sometimes, I find that person to be me!
My prayer became, “Lord, help me be present where I am. I don’t want to miss what you are doing ‘here,’ because my mind is ‘there’.”
It made all the difference. My stress level reduced. I enjoyed the traveling, the adventure, and the individual people in front of me. I became more aware of God’s presence, and I saw His hand at work. He made sure I didn’t forget anything – or made a way when I did.
Oh, I’ll never stop daydreaming of the day I’ll enjoy the presence of God and my heavenly family, and I’ll probably always have a list of things to do. But for now, I’ll seek the presence of God on earth, and strive to keep my mind focused on the person in front of me.
This season disconnect from your list and your phone. Be present where you are. Everyone deserves your full attention. Maybe it’s the best gift we can give our families – all year long.
Not presents. Presence.