My Favorite Christmas Gift

Less presenTs, more presenCe. This was the message we received in December last year at our church. It was a great message series (I mentioned it here). In light of that, last year the favorite Christmas gift that I gave was a letter to each of my children which ended with the gift of presenCe. In each letter I told each child specific attributes I see in them, reasons they make my heart swell and more. Then I ended each letter with a promise of time.

Courtney received the largest gift. I figured with her leaving for college within the next year I wanted (and selfishly needed) more time. She and I went on an overnight shopping trip to Chicago, which also included dinner and a play. Erin was to receive lunch and an activity with me, Kyler was to receive an activity with me, and Zach got an evening where he would actually take me out (although I would pick up the tab). This gift would give twice; I would get time with him and he could practice all those niceties that he will need when he enters the world of dating.

Courtney received her presenCe the week before she left for college (a very hectic time). The planning seemed perfect, except then that week it felt like we were squeezing it in. In retrospect, it was indeed perfect timing. I know if I had not given her the promise of this gift and intentionally made the time, we would have missed connecting in the way we did – right before she left.
I am a little embarrassed to admit the others just received their presenCe. That’s not to say we didn’t experience presenCe this year – I mean I spend a lot of one on one time driving these kids around, attending games, gathering for family dinners and more. But I guess I wonder if we would have had this set-apart time if I had not intentionally reserved it last December 25th.
Reserving time, setting it apart, promising my presenCe. This was my favorite gift. A few days ago we were talking about Christmas gifts and trying to recall the material gifts we received – not many were recalled, but everyone remembered the gifts of presence Kevin and I each gave them. (Kevin also gave each one his own gift of presenCe).

There may just be less presenTs and more presenCe under the tree again this year.

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