Archive for December 23rd, 2011

Christmas Presence

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

It’s Christmas time, and everyone is frantic to finish last minute shopping, wrapping, decorating…creating perfection where none exists. Hopefully in the back of our minds, we strive to create a perfect atmosphere into which the Perfect Gift may come. Or maybe we just want to outdo the neighbors.

I’m no different. Having been a little more financially blessed this year, I bought a few more presents. Since I have a new job and less free time, I shopped early. I was doing pretty well, but then someone tore a bunch of pages out of my calendar when I wasn’t looking, and suddenly Christmas is almost here, and I’m not ready.

Now it’s two days before Christmas. My tree is undecorated. My gifts are not wrapped. There are no gaily colored Christmas cookies for Santa, and I have nothing festive to wear to church. So last night, I went to a party.

I was invited to two parties, and I really wanted to go to both. On the other hand, my house is a mess, my kids are sick, and I had things to do. Going to either party required time that I couldn’t afford to spend. But I chose a party and I went.

Sitting on the hearth in my friend’s living room with a plate of good food and a glass of wine, enjoying the company of people I love, I was relaxing for the first time in a week. Suddenly I remembered that I should be home getting things done. Instead, I was laughing and talking and eating as if I didn’t have a care in the world. I started to feel guilty about having fun.

I stayed at the party. Sometimes spending time with people is more important than hanging ornaments on a tree. Giving the gift of time and presence is more important than perfect bows on presents.

I have a friend whose mother is ill. She has spent most of her time with her mom over the last few weeks, and she is not “ready” for Christmas. Yet she is giving her mother the gift of her presence. Yesterday, her mother had an hour or two of clarity, when they shared memories. If she’d been home baking perfect cookies, would she have missed that gift?

My gift to you who are reading this is a share in the wisdom I have gained. It doesn’t matter if your house is decorated. It matters that you decorate Jesus’ house. Decorate your hearts with love and kindness, and then the King of Glory can come in.